The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), in partnership with the WHO Regional Office, has organised a workshop titled "Strengthening Risk Communication and Community Engagement in Emergency Preparedness" to bolster preparedness and response capabilities for health emergencies.

The four-days event took place in Dubai, and was attended by Dr Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for the Public Health Sector, along with several department directors and heads of relevant units within the Ministry and other authorities involved in managing epidemiological data and public health.

The gathering featured comprehensive presentations introducing participants to national plans. It also included a series of simulation exercises focused on improving competencies in risk communication and community engagement.

Additionally, the workshop incorporated various interactive and participatory activities, such as teamwork and tabletop exercises (TTX), designed to build capacity and develop the skills essential for effective communication during crises.

"This workshop is part of a series of initiatives undertaken by the Ministry to ensure the highest levels of preparedness and response during public health emergencies," said Dr. Al Rand. "Our focus is on building a robust network of skills, knowledge, and community participation that strengthens public health across the UAE."

"This network will be a cornerstone of our advanced emergency response system. By leveraging best practices from past local and international experiences, we aim to foster innovation that prioritizes flexibility, proactivity, and overall preparedness within our healthcare system."

He emphasised that the Ministry is making every possible effort to strengthen national capabilities for handling health emergencies. This includes prioritising effective communication and community participation, which are seen as crucial pillars in the Ministry's strategy to enhance preparedness and response. “We look forward to developing the sector's proactive capabilities in a comprehensive and integrated manner, thereby boosting its competitiveness, flexibility, effectiveness, and alignment with the country's strategic priorities,” Al Rand said.

He clarified that the workshop provided an ideal platform to evaluate and enhance risk communication and community engagement strategies for emergency preparedness and response, guided by international best practices. It also allowed specialized teams to improve their skills in early detection and effective management of health events. Additionally, he noted that the adherence to the International Health Regulations strengthens its ability to respond to health emergencies and ensures that all stakeholders, including community members, are thoroughly prepared to respond efficiently and effectively in such situations.