The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has recently launched an awareness campaign on the dangers of obesity, chronic diseases and its association with Covid-19 to highlight the importance of public adherence to precautionary measures, healthy balanced diet and treatment plans set by doctors.
The recently launched campaign comes in line with the ministry’s strategy aimed at strengthening national efforts and protecting the health and safety of everyone while combating the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ministry affirmed that the health sector in the country adopts a flexible and multi-pronged strategy to create a healthy environment free from Covid-19 complications and repercussions.
The campaign comes at a time when many global reports and studies concluded that people with obesity and chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancer are more susceptible to contracting the virus and be affected by its complications.
Therefore, the intake of Covid-19 vaccine by these groups will greatly protect them from getting infected with the virus and would certainly alleviate its symptoms.
“Since the early days of the pandemic, the ministry has paid special attention to obese patients and those with chronic diseases and has accordingly assigned them special healthcare. They have been given priority in lab and home testing to limit their contact with others in health centres and are among the priority groups in receiving the Covid-19 jabs,” said HE Dr Hussein Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary of Health Centers and Clinics Sector.
“The severity of COVID-19 increases if the infected person is over 60. People with one or more of these chronic conditions such as asthma and lung disease, cardiovascular problems, uncontrolled diabetes, severe obesity, a weakened immune system due to diseases such as HIV or who are undergoing cancer treatment must be more careful to protect themselves against the virus,” Al Rand added.
For her part, Dr Fadila Mohammed Sharif, Director of Health Education and Promotion, stressed that the campaign calls on people with chronic diseases and obesity to get vaccinated at health centres available across the country to immunize their bodies and protect their loved ones and continue following a healthy lifestyle that can help improve the functioning of their bodies, including the immune system.
Dr Sharif advised those patients to continue taking medications, follow medical advice, and ensure that medication is available for at least a month or more, and stay no less than two meters away from people who are coughing or suffering from cold or flu.
She urged them to monitor blood sugar levels and blood pressure, wash their hands constantly with soap and water, take care of their mental health, stay in contact with relatives safely, and take extra precautions when leaving the house by wearing masks and gloves, keeping a safe distance, and communicating with medical staff when needed.
Dr. Fadila pointed out that overweight individuals are at greater health risk during the Covid-19 pandemic. Statistics showed that obesity triples the risks of hospitalization in case of infection, as obesity is associated with weak immunity and reduces lung capacity, making it difficult to breathe.