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Healthy living: Treating work hazards

Written By krishna on Monday, April 11, 2011 | 7:59 PM

Moderator's Note: Workers occupational and environmental health is always neglected.

In 2007, the World Health Assembly endorsed the WHO Global Plan of Action on Workers' Health (GPA) (2008-2017) which is a follow up of the WHO Global Strategy on Occupational Health for All endorsed by the World Health Assembly in 1996.

The main objectives of the GPA are to establish basic levels of health protection at all workplaces, to decrease inequalities in workers health, to ensure access of all workers to preventive health services and link occupational health to primary health care, to incorporate actions on workers health into other policies, such as sustainable development, poverty reduction, trade liberalization, environmental protection and employment.

It must be realized hospital centric approach is needed but is not sufficient. What will a hospital do in case of incurable occupational and environmental diseases like asbestosis, mesothelioma etc caused due to consumption of asbestos in countries like UAE and India at time when WHO and ILO has called for its elimination and some 60 countries have banned it.

Gopal Krishna
Occupational Health India (OHI)

Healthy living: Treating work hazards

A host of work-related medical tests are being conducted at a healthcare facility that opened its doors in the city this week

Dubai: Lead and chromium poisoning of firemen, viral and skin infections among food handlers, 20-20 vision of drivers — these are among a host of work-related medical tests being conducted at a healthcare facility that opened its doors in the city this week.

"Samples of work-related tests were being sent to Europe and India earlier. Now we can do them here," said Mark Adams, CEO of Gulf Healthcare International (GHI), which has set up the facility. He said the 15,000-square-foot Occupational Health International (OHI) in Deira, supposed to be GCC's first dedicated occupational healthcare centre, is a niche for work-based medicine with a huge capacity to assess employee-health away from cross-infection issues in clinics and hospitals.

Over 270 million work-related accidents occur worldwide, of which two million result in deaths. With more than two-thirds of the UAE population spending maximum time at the workplace, it's imperative that occupational healthcare is given its due, Adams said. "We want to encourage a culture where people are transparent about health and safety and identify health hazards at workplace," he said. The high incidence of chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity and heart disease in the UAE require regular check-ups, which OHI undertakes, he said.

Any focus on health and safety in a company must take into account working conditions like the right temperature, availability of fresh water, granting of breaks, etc, he said. "Our target groups include everyone from blue-collar workers to top executives," he said, adding that both employers and employees can access the services.

By Sharmila Dhal
April 7, 2011
Gulf News
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