Lily B. libo-on

The Dubai Shopping Festival has drawn to its shopping bags health initiatives, making it a perfect combination of shopping, winning, entertainment and healthy living.

The Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall

For the third year in a row, the Family Health Festival was officially inaugurated on Saturday at EKEA in Dubai Festival City with the Safe at Heart initiative of AstraZeneca, the main sponsor of the event, that directs its campaign on cardiovascular diseases to all residents and visitors in Dubai.

Dr Hanif Hassan Ali, UAE Minister of Health, inaugurated the event with Ibrahim Saleh, Festivals Coordinator-General and Deputy CEO of Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (DEPE).

Shoppers crowded the booth of the health festival, which will also be set up at Wafi City, Dubai Mall, Al Ghurair City and in select DSF locations in night souks at Al Riqqa Street, Al Seef Street in Dubai Creek, Global City and in corporate houses.

Last year,  the Family Health Festival attracted more than 100,000 visitors and tested more than 10,000 for free. This year, the Health Minister expected more individuals to avail of the free checkups and medical and nutritional counseling at the festival in the malls and night souks.

This year’s primary focus of Family Health Festival is on Safe at Heart initiative, which aims to raise awareness about the growing burden and prevention of cardiovascular diseases in the region.

Dr Prem Jagyasi, managing director and CEO of ExHealth, organiser of  Family Health Festival in coordination with DSF and the Ministry of Health, told Khaleej Times that the initiative will give free consultation, counseling and screening of blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol level to help the general public and those suffering from heart ailment and other health concerns.

DEPE’s Saleh told Khaleej Times that DSF is a good opportunity to pass a lot of messages and a lot of activities in order to create awareness among the residents and visitors in Dubai in cooperation with the Ministry of Health. The initiative, which is also endorsed by the Emirates Cardiac Society, brings seminars and counseling with healthcare professionals on how to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Dr Jagyasi said: “The third edition of Family Health Festival this year is another step in this direction. Each year, we have themed it depending on the need of the hour.

Family Health Festival offers a full range of activities such as specially designed magic show, face paintings, games and other forms of health edutainment. On site posters and video presentations will aim to impart health awareness to the visitors. The kiosks will also earmark screening areas for a host of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and blood pressure.

Additionally, certified healthcare professionals will be available to offer counseling and tips on lifestyle management to the shoppers. “A doctor and two nurses are stationed in every festival booth in the malls, select DSF locations and corporate houses,” Dr Jagyasi said. The festival is a month-long series of events, which brings health awareness to the DSF-participating malls and outdoor locations. Disease education and preventive screenings are intertwined with fun activities.