The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), the organisation responsible for delivering the
infrastructure required for the 2022 FIFA World Cup™, has
entered into a partnership agreement with Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) that
will see the renowned medical research institution assess the health of workers
on World Cup construction projects.
Working with workers, contractors and catering supply companies to improve workers’ nutrition, the research and training pilot programme, which started in February, will see a team of clinical researchers from WCM-Q examine workers’ health, diets, and general awareness of the importance of nutrition. The researchers will also evaluate current nutritional intake and identify prevalent health challenges among workers which improved diets may help to resolve.
The pilot programme, which will initially target a random
sample of 1,000 workers on SC projects, will be broken down into the following
Phase 1 – Health Checks & Reporting: WCM-Q to carry out health checks of 1,000 workers to determine prevalence of health related issues, including but not limited to hypertension (high blood pressure), blood glucose, kidney function, hydration status, body measurements, grip strength and respiratory parameters. The key research findings will be compiled into a report outlining the recommendations for phases 2 & 3.
Phase 2 – Awareness & Training Campaign (workers, contractors & caterers): WCM-Q to educate the sample of 1,000 workers on the benefits of healthy lifestyles and balanced diets, and key stakeholders on the need to provide nutritious food options for workers. Access to dieticians and nutritionists will be provided.
Phase 3 – Catering Enhancement & Reporting: WCM-Q to work collaboratively with contractors and catering suppliers to recommend nutritional food options for the sample of 1,000 workers via revised food options within their worksites and accommodation.
The project will conclude with the release of a detailed report that will summarise the outcomes, impact and key findings of the programme and make recommendations for future intervention.
The research team from WCM-Q will be led by Dr. Shahrad Taheri, Professor of Medicine and Assistant Dean for Clinical Investigations, and Dr. Odette Chagoury, Associate Director of Clinical Research. Dr. Taheri and Dr. Chagoury both have a wealth of experience in clinical trials and large scale population studies assessing the effectiveness of health and nutrition interventions.
Dr. Taheri said: “Nutrition plays a vital role in an individual’s health and even small changes to diet can make a huge difference to overall wellbeing. The impact of this initiative, both on the short and long-term health of workers associated with SC construction projects, could be huge, particularly if, as we hope, the findings are taken on board by other companies and international businesses operating in Qatar.”
Hassan Al Thawadi, SC
Secretary General, welcomed the new initiative, saying: “Weill Cornell is a
household name in medicine and we are delighted to partner with them on such an
important programme. Nutrition is a vital component of any healthy lifestyle
and we’re hoping that through this new programme we can uncover any prevalent or
latent health concerns among our workers, address any issues that come to light
and work collaboratively with our entire supply chain to make sure we improve
our workers’ health and enable our contractors to offer balanced and nutritious
options for workers.
“The ultimate outcome of this programme is happy and healthy workers with a more balanced diet and a better understanding of what they need to do themselves to keep healthy while working and living in Qatar.”
Dr. Javaid I. Sheikh, Dean of WCM-Q, said: “This initiative represents an exciting opportunity to tackle a global problem. Nutrition is vital to a healthy life but, sadly, in countries with high numbers of nationals working in Qatar, such as Bangladesh, Nepal and parts of India, undernutrition is rife and costly to eradicate. Through this initiative, we therefore not only hope to better understand the specific nutritional needs of workers in Qatar, but also to educate them about diet so they can pass this knowledge on to their families when they return home.”
The launch of the programme follows a number of other significant steps the SC has taken in the last 12 months to improve the welfare of workers on SC construction projects, including the signing of an MoU with the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) for joint accommodation and site inspections, and the appointment of an independent third party compliance monitor.
The SC currently has eight construction sites underway across Qatar and just over 10,000 workers on-site at any given time. The number of workers engaged on SC construction projects is expected to rise to 36,000 in the next 12 months as various projects approach completion or the main works stage, with Khalifa International Stadium expected for completion in Q2 2017 and the Al Wakrah and Qatar Foundation stadiums both rapidly heading towards their completion dates in 2018.