From left: The Media Director of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Hassan Al Hail, General Secretary of Qatar Center for Voluntary Activities, Youssef Ali Al Qazim, Government Affairs Director of ConocoPhillips, Salem Al Halbadi, Vice President and Commercial Manager of ConocoPhillips, Frank Feghali, and Chairman of Kulluna Programme, Dr Khalid Abdulnoor Saifeldeen, after a media briefing at the Hamad International Training Centre in Doha yesterday. Salim Matramkot
DOHA: In a belated yet laudable move, public health authorities have launched a drive to educate outdoor workers on the dangers of being exposed to heat-related illnesses as well as preventive measures. The four-week campaign was launched yesterday by Hamad Medical Corporation as heat-related illnesses reported to the emergency unit of HMC have increased considerably.
Public health officials said sweltering temperatures accompanied with high humidity are expected to continue through much of September.
“Heat-related illnesses can damage the brain and other vital organs and can cause death,” warned the head of the campaign ‘Kulluna’ (‘All of Us’). During the summer months, numerous cases of dehydration and heat-related illnesses are reported to the emergency unit of HMC day and night and a majority of them involve outdoor workers, Dr Khalid Abdulnoor Saifeldeen told a news briefing at Hamad International Training Centre. On the sidelines, he said people with severe dehydration could suffer from cardiovascular arrest as a secondary illness. The Peninsula
“Heart is a vital organ and it will be secondary-affected. If someone is dehydrated, it will increase the blood pressure, kidney functions will be affected, the consciousness level will automatically fall, and then it can cause a cardiovascular arrest.”
Saifeldeen advised that prevention is the best way to be safe from heat-related illnesses but people working in the open should also look into symptoms like thirst, dizziness, weakness, muscle cramps, increased body temperature, loss of consciousness or even a coma.
The ‘Kulluna’ team will use a mobile unit ‘Kulluna Caravan’ to visit different locations, distribute leaflets in Arabic, English, Malayalam and Hindi along with thousands of packages with water bottle cooler, refillable bottle, a bottle of water, a cap and a fruit.
The campaign’s key messages to workers will be to stay hydrated by drinking water regularly, take regular breaks while working outdoor, wear sun protective clothing, make best use of shaded areas, watch out for early symptoms of dehydration and call for help immediately.
The campaign will also urge employers to observe the working hours during hot summer months and provide workers with adequate break, water, protective clothing and shaded areas.
While heat and high humidity levels might continue well into September, the summer work timings for outdoor workers imposed by the Ministry of Labour ends on August 31.