Kuwait is taking all necessary measures to boost the health of its population and improve the healthcare services offered to them.
In this regard, Kuwait will join Tuesday the rest of the world in marking the World Health Day, focusing this year on "food Safety." Kuwait is holding diverse activities to mark the occasion; such as a celebration to be sponsored by Minister of Health Dr. Ali Al-Obaidi on Tuesday. The planned event will be themed, "How safe is your food." Access to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food is key to sustaining life and promoting good health. Food safety, nutrition and food security are inextricably linked. Unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of disease and malnutrition, particularly affecting infants, young children, elderly and the sick.
With all this in mind, Kuwait has created a special body, the Public Authority for Food and Nutrition, to control the food producers, importers and sellers in the country.
The Authority is responsible for setting criteria for safe food, checking producers, importers and dealers' abidance by them and taking actions against violators, the Authority's Board Chairman Essa Al-Kanderi told KUNA.
He went on to say that the Authority is also in charge of inspecting food companies, markets, stores and supervising food-importing and food testing laboratories.
Moreover, it will develop a national food and nutrition policy to ensure food safety, promote healthier nutrition and lifestyles, fight malnutrition and reduce food-borne diseases, he said.
Unsafe food can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, and cause more than 200 diseases - ranging from diarrhea to cancers. Examples of unsafe food include undercooked foods of animal origin, fruits and vegetables contaminated with feces, and shellfish containing marine biotoxins.
According to WHO, the World Health Organization, there were an estimated 582 million cases of 22 different food borne enteric diseases and 351,000 associated deaths.
Al-Kanderi said that the authority law enables it to take tough measures, impose fines that could lead to imprisonment, against violators who threaten the safety of people.
The Kuwaiti civil society is also cooperating with the state to safeguard the health of people.
Head of the Kuwait Food and Nutrition Association, a non-government organization, Dr Ahmad Rashed Al-Haifi told KUNA that the Association aims to ensure the safety of citizens.
He added that it cooperates with the Public Authority for Food and Nutrition and other relevant government agencies for the good health of the whole society community.
The Association also contributes to the development of national strategies for food and nutrition, efforts to ensure food safety and develop contingency plans to cope with outbreaks of diseases and epidemics resulting from food and ways to protect the country such diseases.
It is setting recommendations for the development of food services and programs to boost community health and therapeutic feeding programs in hospitals -- especially for patients of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes -- and the reduction of nutrient deficiency.
He added that the Association also provides technical and administrative advice to government agencies on means to control and monitor food and nutritional supplements in the country and to organize awareness campaigns on food safety.
The World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on 7 April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO). It is seen as an opportunity by the organization to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year. The WHO organizes international, regional and local events on the Day related to a particular theme.