December 13, 2017

In Dubai, the Health Message Becomes More Critical than Money

Gureni Lukwaro & ChanMin Chung, Middle East and North Africa Union

Dubai is not only the biggest and most famous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but it’s also a symbol of wealth. In this affluent metropolitan city, more than 250 people recently flocked to tents for free health check-ups and lifestyle advice provided by a local church.

“People have health issues regardless of how much money they have,” said Steven Manoukian, president of the Gulf Field of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “People are more and more interested in health matters.”

Across the country, health awareness and the healthcare sector have increased rapidly alongside lifestyle disorders such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, etc. According to the UAE Healthcare Sector Outlook 2020, the UAE healthcare market is expected to be worth $19.5 billion by 2020.

Manoukian said that it is time for our church to serve the community through the Adventist health message in the region.

Reflecting this growing interest in health, from early morning people began to visit the health event at the Holy Trinity Church compound in Dubai on Nov. 24.

“We advertised the event to every community around us,” said Dubai Central Adventist Church pastor Andy Espinoza, “which was the way community members found out about our health project.”

The one-day health initiative offered a variety of events including a health check, free balloons for children, and a blood donation station for those in desperate need of blood in various hospitals in Dubai.

Visitors had to visit up to seven stations to complete the full range of services offered.

After registration, visitors stopped by stations to measure their Body Mass Index (BMI); get their cholesterol, glucose, and eyes checked; and find out their blood type if they didn’t already know it. They also took part in a fitness test, and finally, at the last station, their results were assessed by volunteers, who provided them with lifestyle advice to help improve their level of health and fitness.

The event also catered to people who could not afford any health evaluations. Church members were able to engage with people from different cultural and religious backgrounds.

“It’s an opportunity for us to introduce the people of the city to the healthy lifestyle that is part of our Adventist values,” said Manoukian. “In the future, we wish to explore more possibilities which may impact our communities.”