‘Healthy Eating’ Awareness: A small step towards Labour Reforms

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Qatar hosts nearly 2 million migrant workers, who comprise approximately 95% of its total labour force, of which 40% are construction workers. The percentage of which is expected to increase at construction venues of FIFA 2022 World Cup.

Qatar fell under the radar of International Labour Organisation (ILO) for not addressing the labour concerns including wages, working conditions, health, document confiscation and basic rights. In response to which Qatar committed ILO in October 2017 that it will bring labour reforms addressing the issues.

The reforms though were listed on paper raised scepticism about the implementation but it seems that Qatar has learnt from its past mistakes and has started taking small steps on ground level also, for addressing the labour concerns.

Recently, Qatar Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy’s (SC) under its ongoing nutritional programme, in partnership with Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) educated more than 1,000 construction workers of 2022 FIFA World Cup about eating healthy, at Al Khor Sports Park.

The interactive program was a part two of SC’s Workers’ Welfare Department and the renowned WCM-Q. Proagramme.

The first phase of the programme included health screenings and wide variety of interactive activities such as light exercise, cricket and football matches, healthy cooking demonstrations and healthy takeaway meal were also organised.

The second phase of the nutritional programme aimed to educate the workers and their employers on benefits of healthy lifestyles and balanced diets.

The results of the detailed screenings conducted in the first phase of the programme were taken as a basis for planning the training and awareness activities in the remaining two phases of the program.

SC Workers’ Welfare Department Executive Director Mahmoud Qutub said: “The event at Al Khor Sports Park was a great example of reaching out to workers to talk about the importance of nutrition.”

He further expressed that “We have worked hard since the launch of this programme to educate workers about eating properly and the benefits a healthy lifestyle can bring. It was a great opportunity for workers to hear a bit more about food preparation and intake, and the impact it can have on their health,”

Dr Shahrad Taheri, WCM-Q Professor of Medicine and Assistant Dean for Clinical Investigations, an active member of the programme explained that “We used the day to carry out further health checks and track progress and improvements to workers’ health since phase one. We also demonstrated some of the food options that would make a big difference to their diet.”

The program would have solved the purpose of spreading awareness about healthy eating however it is equally important to evaluate its results through observations and surveys for understanding the overall impact on attitude of both labour and employee, in context to health of the workers.

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