Robust efforts are underway in the UAE to reduce the female mortality rate, according to the country’s medical fraternity.

As per the National Policy for Improving Women’s Health, the overall mortality rate for women is targeted to be lowered to 62.77 per 100,000 signifying a commitment to improving overall health outcomes for women in the country.

Under this, the policy also aims to reduce the cancer mortality rate to 23.24 per 100,000 of the female population in the country.

According to data from 2021, 31 per cent of the population in the UAE is female, and the mortality rate for women is said to be 48.28 per 1,000 female adults in the country.

1 in 8 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer

Dr Marwa Moris, Specialist Family Medicine — Aesthetics, CosmeSurge Clinic — Dubai Marina, said: “Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer among women in the UAE, accounting 37 per cent of all cancers in women in the country. This aligns with the global statistics where breast cancer remains the most common cancer among women worldwide. 1 in 8 women will have breast cancer. That means a woman born today has about a 1 in 8 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer at some time during her life.”

Efforts to combat breast cancer in the UAE include awareness campaigns, early detection initiatives, and access to advanced medical treatments. Screening programmes, such as mammography, are available to women in the UAE to facilitate early diagnosis and improve treatment outcomes.

Additionally, the policy’s targets include reducing health issues arising from unhealthy lifestyles like obesity and lack of physical activity by 3 per cent.

Obesity, sedentary lifestyle are key concerns

Dr Marwa Edrees, Specialist Obstetrics and Gynecology, Burjeel Farha Hospital, Al Ain said: “Prevalent diseases among women in the UAE include obesity and other lifestyle-related diseases. Obesity is highlighted as a significant public health concern due to its adverse effects on reproductive health and increased risks during pregnancy and childbirth.”

“Polycystic ovarian syndrome, infertility, and menstrual irregularities, all of these detrimentally impact women's well-being. Moreover, diabetes, if left uncontrolled, can lead to long-term complications affecting various organs, including the kidneys, eyes, heart, and nerves,” explained Dr Amal Hassan Abddelaziz, head of obstetrics and gynecology, Thumbay University Hospital Ajman.

Hence, healthcare professionals reiterate preventing obesity is paramount in mitigating these health risks. Proper management of diabetes and other related conditions is also essential.

She added, “Furthermore, addressing factors such as vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis, particularly in postmenopausal women, is crucial. This can be achieved through adequate supplementation of Vitamin D, regular monitoring of bone density, intake of calcium supplements, and adoption of a healthy, non-sedentary lifestyle.”

Free cancer screening services

Meanwhile, medics pointed out that the UAE has made significant strides to provide a comprehensive healthcare service to women including parental care, maternal health services, and screening for particularly breast cancer, and cervical cancer.

The UAE's healthcare market experiences significant growth, largely propelled by the government's dedication to the sector. This is especially notable as over two-thirds of the total healthcare expenditure is attributed to public spending.

Dr Fatemeh Aghanasiri, Family Practitioner, Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, said, “The UAE government has taken significant steps to raise awareness about women’s health issues and promote healthy lifestyles. Last year a huge budget was specified for women’s health by the Government.”

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