Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Dubai: Health and Wellness Week will kick off at Expo 2020 Dubai on Thursday and run until February 2 with various events and discussions focusing on mental and physical wellbeing.

Speaking at a press briefing in which she attended virtually on Wednesday, Dr Rayana Bou-Haka, country cooperation and collaboration manager and desk officer of World Health Organization (WHO)–Eastern Mediterranean, said it is “important to look at and understand all components of health and wellness, including physical, social and mental wellbeing”.

Dr Rayana Bou-Haka virtually addressing the media briefing at Expo on Wednesday Image Credit: Angel Tesorero/Gulf News

Bou-Haka added that WHO will take an active part at Expo’s Health and Wellness Week “because health and wellbeing are very much important, not only during the pandemic but also beyond”.

She said: “Health is not only about delivering services, cure and prevention – it is a whole process; it’s about safety, a healthy city, the air we breathe, less road traffic accidents, good education, etc.”

Healthier, happier world

Expo organisers said Health and Wellness Week will focus on how to create a healthier, happier world.

The focus is on giving mental and physical wellness equal worth in caregiving systems; creating a culture of care and acknowledging the role of communities in nurturing healthier, happier societies; and rising to the challenge – meaning, harnessing the power of technology for safe, accessible healthcare.

Looking past the pandemic

Bou-Haka added it is also important to look beyond the pandemic. She said: “We should continue the work preparing for future pandemics. There are things that we should put in place and not wait for a new threat.

“We have to make sure as many people as possible can get healthcare – whether preventive or curative. The universal health coverage is not just about providing free healthcare, but it is also about extending the coverage to more people and giving them quality services – what they need and when they need them.”

Bou-Haka emphasised global investment in health care is a must. She said: “Globally, universal healthcare is not enough. We really need to look into more investment in health and wellbeing. There should be better data collection to understand not only how to protect people but also how to work in different conditions.

“The pandemic has pushed forward the use of digital technology and the system has to evolve more and to connect more pole. We have also learned that we need to health with environment, agriculture and impacts of climate change on ecosystems. We need more solidarity and support.”

Health and wellness events

January 27: Celebrating Unsung Heroes – This event will put the spotlight on the vital role of frontline health workers in advancing national and global health targets.

Expo Live Impact Series: Breaking barriers through digital medicine – A panel discussion which explores combining human element with technology helps to break stigma surrounding mental health.

January 28: Expo Live Impact Series: Technologies transforming healthcare – Panel discussion on different healthcare technologies and how transformative they can be.

January 3: The Next Wave: Preventing and Preparing to Beat Future Pandemics – This event explores the nexus of human, animal and environmental health, with a forward-looking take on how to prevent, mitigate and respond to future health and zoonotic disease pandemics.

February 1: Health and Wellness Business Forum – Will highlight and showcase business opportunities, cutting-edge technologies, and progress achieved by the UAE, international participants and Expo partners relevant to the health and wellness sector.

Expo Live Impact Series: Access to Treatment Everywhere – Panel discussion showcasing a community-led service delivery in healthcare. It highlights how technology, along with awareness, can ensure that even in the most remote areas, people have access to treatment.

February 2: Nature’s healing hands: Creating Healthy Environments for Living Sustainably – Spotlight on Expo and participating countries’ sustainability initiatives, standards and models for sustainable health and wellness practices through their pavilion content, design, programming and operations.

Expo Live Impact Series: Giving Everyone a Voice – Panel discussion on innovative solutions that empower individuals who suffer from speech and hearing impairments.