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Launch of Bahrain Obesity briefing book to comabat obesity and raise awareness in the Kingdom

March 7, 2021

The Bahrain Obesity Briefing book was launched during a virtual press conference on Thursday, March 4th in partnership with the Bahrain Diabetes Society; a non-profit organization, affiliated to the NGOs of the Ministry of Social Development in Bahrain, and to the International Diabetes Federation and Novo Nordisk; the Danish multinational pharmaceutical company.

The press conference included key statements from several strategic partners including Supreme council of Health in Bahrain , Bahrain Diabetes society , Novo Nordisk GC, The Embassy of Denmark , the Ministry of Health and various well renowned health practitioners and industry leaders from King Hamad University Hospital, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Bahrain, Salmaniya Medical Complex Bahrain, University of Bahrain , Arabian Gulf University and the Bahrain Defense Force Royal Medical Services.

The Virtual Press Conference kicked off with a welcome speech by H.E Sheikh Mohamed Bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa; Chairman of the Supreme Council of Health , the president of Bahrain Diabetes Society highlighting the importance of the Bahrain Obesity Briefing Book addressing the growing prevalence of obesity in Bahrain and the MENA region with the vision to combat obesity among societies.

H.E Sheikh Mohamed Bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa commented “We have seen a rapid escalation in the prevalence of obesity and obesity-related health conditions in the GCC. Obesity has escalated to epidemic levels in the GCC Countries. Bahrain has experienced some of the most acute increases in obesity prevalence reported worldwide. The after-effects of delayed action on obesity prevention and management will be a major burden on healthcare and society in the future.”

H.E added, “The purpose of the launch of the Obesity Briefing Book is to inform policymakers, healthcare professionals and the general public of the serious and widespread health challenge of obesity in Bahrain by highlighting its impact on society and individuals. Bahrain has a good primary healthcare system that is efficient in the risk assessment and diagnosis of obesity. It also has a good tertiary system with specialists for disease management, and a multidisciplinary approach is in place.”

Followed by the Welcome Speech, HE Mr. Ole Moesby; Ambassador of Denmark to KSA, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman & Yemen highlighted the importance of this collaboration in line with MoU signed last September to increase obesity awareness and emphasize the importance of tackling this epidemic disease in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Ambassador Moesby commented on the launch “We are tackling one of the major health challenges in Bahrain and the larger MENA region. Obesity is a serious, chronic disease that affects more than 650 million people around the world. An essential part of this initiative is inline with our commitment to developing partnerships to develop and implement practical solutions around to address the obesity challenge.”

Dr. Akin Aksekili, Vice President of Novo Nordisk Gulf spoke about the global Burden of Obesity and Novo Nordisk’s long-term vision to combat obesity among societies and its commitment to improving the understanding and management of obesity in collaboration with the Bahrain Defence Royal Medical Services.

He emphasized “By increasing awareness of obesity, and implementing population-based obesity prevention approaches and strategies – we will enable and empower individuals to take control of their health in order to achieve well-being, social and economical development and quality of life. We want to support individuals suffering with obesity to reset their weight to a new, healthier starting point.”

The press conference highlighted the current state of obesity in Bahrain and how it poses as a major health challenge in the GCC and MENA region and the action taken in Bahrain to combat the obesity , presented by Dr. Mariam Al Hajeri, Assistant undersecretary for Public Health – Ministry of Health and Vice President of the Bahrain Diabetes Society. Dr. Mariam highlighted how Overweight and obesity are common across a wide sphere of society in Bahrain.

She added “The country has experienced some of the most acute increases in obesity prevalence reported worldwide – most notably among girls and women. The World Health Organization has highlighted Bahrain along with Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE as the countries in the region where overweight and obesity prevalence rates are highest.”

Dr Dalal Al Romaihi; Consultant adult endocrinologist at King Hamad University Hospital gave an in-depth overview of the Bahrain Obesity Briefing book and what it entails including an extensive introduction to obesity and its impact in Bahrain and the region, Prevention measures, individualized approaches to obesity management, and more.

The event concluded with final remarks by Dr. Ahmed Magdy; Head of Patient Access and Public Affairs Department of Novo Nordisk ‘’ Obesity must be recognised as a complex, multifactorial chronic condition requiring long term management solutions.

The clinical treatment pathway for the management of obesity needs to be strengthened through proactive application of the clinical management guidelines established to support healthcare decision-making.*