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Frozen chicken from Brazil

All shipments of meat and chicken from Brazil are being checked at Qatar’s ports to ensure their quality before they are cleared for sale, the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) has announced.

The move comes after evidence was found that meat-packers in Brazil had been selling rotten products for years.

Some 30 people were arrested last week, three packing plants were closed down and 21 are under investigation, according to the BBC.

Shabina S. Khatri / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Brazilian officials have stressed that these plants account for only a fraction of the industry, but many nations that import Brazilian meat and poultry products have suspended imports nonetheless.

That includes China, South Korea and the European Union.

Lab samples taken

Frozen halal chicken from Brazil is very popular in Qatar. And shoppers are sure to notice its lack of availability in the coming days and weeks.

According to an official from Qatar Foods, 90 percent of the nation’s poultry comes from the South American country.

The Peninsula reports business consultant Iqbal Vadakara as saying:

“Restriction of products from Brazil could lead to an acute shortage of poultry and meat products in the market. Almost all the major fast moving frozen chicken brands in the market are imported from Brazil.”

Once lab samples are analyzed and products are found fit for human consumption, the meat and poultry will be released, MOPH said.


Note: The lead image in this article has been changed, as Sadia chicken says it was not affected by the curbs.

Kelly Hunter/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Pregnant women and new mothers with anxiety, depression or other problems now have a new resource to turn to in Qatar.

This week, the Sidra Medical and Research Center opened the nation’s first Women’s Perinatal Mental Healthcare Clinic.

There, professionals will offer guidance and counseling for mothers with attachment and bonding issues, as well as those dealing with previous trauma and loss, Sidra announced.


Sidra Womens Perinatal Mental Healthcare Clinic team

Women with more serious problems, such as OCD, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, can also receive support at the clinic.

Currently, the center will only see patients who are referred by Sidra’s Obstetrics Clinic, Hamad Medical Corp. hospitals and Primary Health Care Corp. centers.

However, plans are afoot to expand the services offered.


Emotional health

In a statement, Dr. Felice Watt, division chief for Women’s Mental Health, said taking care of emotional health is just as important for new mothers as looking after their physical health.

She added:

“Mental health issues are common during this period and the right support and treatment can have a lasting positive impact on the mother, infant, and the entire family.

Our women’s mental healthcare team will provide culturally sensitive, woman and family centered support and treatment during this important time.”

Demand for better mental healthcare services in Qatar has been on the rise for some time.

Troy Benson/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The call grew louder earlier this month following the suicide of an American expat, with many community members saying they wouldn’t know where to turn for help with their issues.

Pregnant women and new mothers have also been seeking better support services.

In a series on giving birth in Qatar last year, many moms said they struggled with depression and questions about how to take care of their babies, and their husbands “had no idea how to support them.”

Women who suffer miscarriages in Qatar also say they have trouble coping without help.

Sidra progress

After several hurdles, Sidra partially opened last May with the launch of some pediatric outpatient clinics. And it started doing day surgeries in November.

This year, all 40 of its outpatient services are expected to become fully operational.

But so far, there is no opening date for the entire hospital, which has been delayed for years.


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A new report analyzing the health data of some 5,000 Qataris and longterm residents has painted a grim picture of the nation’s population as overweight, inactive and lacking Vitamin D.

The data, which the Qatar Biobank began collecting five years ago, found that more than 70 percent of the population is either overweight and obese.

Additionally, 83 percent get little to no regular physical exercise. And more than 45 percent of those surveyed said they consume fast food more than three times a week.

Sam Agnew/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Also, a whopping 86 percent of people have been diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency.

The 2016 report was presented at a conference this week.

The health data was comprised almost equally of men and women, the majority of whom were 25 to 34 years old.

Health crisis

According to the biobank, more than 80 percent of those who submitted blood and other samples were unaware of any health problems.

Some 16 percent were diagnosed with diabetes, and more than 40 percent of those studied were referred to Hamad Medical Corp. for medical advice after abnormalities were found.


Women’s Hospital

The analysis mirrors the results of a 1,200-strong sample the biobank conducted in 2015. This suggests that awareness campaigns are not convincing people to make significant lifestyle changes.

That said, Dr. Nahla Afifi, the biobank’s acting director, said the data has spurred her organization to expand its mandate beyond conducting research.

In a statement, she said:

“Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and diabetes are emerging as significant health problems and are now the major cause of death and disability in Qatar…

(The biobank now) also plays an important role in early identification and prompt treatment of chronic non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, which will reduce the future burden in health sector.”


Previously, the biobank said it aims to collect 60,000 samples by 2018-2019.

Individuals who participate are asked to fill out a questionnaire and provide blood, saliva and urine samples.

jomilo75 / Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Researchers also record a volunteer’s height, weight and blood pressure during the process, which takes approximately three hours. All the data is kept confidential.

Those who wish to volunteer are asked to fill out an online form. They can also call 4454-1177, or send an email to [email protected]

Participants must be above the age of 18 and either be a Qatari national or have resided in the country for at least 15 years.