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Occupational Health in the Eastern Mediterranean Region Challenges


Occupational Health Conference 11-13 December 2006 Muscat - Oman Occupational Health in the Eastern Mediterranean Region Challenges & Opportunities – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Occupational Health in the Eastern Mediterranean Region Challenges

Occupational Health in the Eastern Mediterranean
Region Challenges Opportunities
Occupational Health Conference 11-13 December
2006 Muscat - Oman
  • Dr. Said Arnaout
  • arnaouts_at_emro.who.int

Six WHO Regional Offices

Eastern Mediterranean Region
22 Member States
Population 540 Million
Per capita GDP in international dollars, 2004
Source WHO Core Health Indicators 2006
Qatar 27284
Afg 430
Population of EMR in thousands, WHO 2005
Percentage of 15-64 Age Group
Percentage of non-nationals in the 15-64 age
Labour Force in EMR
  • 10 50 of the active population
  • Non-local/ immigrant workers represent the
    majority of the workforce in some Gulf countries

Labor Force by Sector in EMR
Unemployed in EMR 13 Source RDs AR 2004
Informal labour force
  • No precise estimates
  • However, it represents about 24.7 of the
    currently employed labour force in Bahrain and
    about 46.8 in Pakistan

Working children
  • Working children (Child labour) are present in
    several countries
  • Figures are available only in few of them
  • The working children are usually present in
  • agricultural activities,
  • construction,
  • industrial activities and
  • small workshops

Working Women Are in increase
What are the main challenges, facing occupational
health in EMR?
The Definition of Occupational Health (ILO WHO)
  • The promotion and maintenance of the highest
    degree of physical, mental, social well-being of
    workers in all occupations total health for all
    at work

OHS Dilemma in EMR
  • Rapid growth of general population and young
    people reaching adulthood (huge increase in
    labour force, unemployment)
  • Inequity, poverty, conflicts, disasters
  • Conventional as well as new challenges
  • Insufficient and inadequate OHS services (human
    resources, infrastructure, education, training,
  • Diverse spectrum of occupational and general
    health risks (Triple Burden)

Triple Burden of Disease
  • Communicable Diseases
  • Non-communicable Diseases
  • Occupational and Work-related Diseases

Regional Situation
  • OH Services are significantly varied from one EM
    country to another
  • Variations include both qualitative and
    quantitative parameters
  • There are very good amount of experience in some
    EM countries, and could be used, exchanged or
    even replicated by other countries
  • There is a pressing need to enhance and progress
    OH services in every EM country

The greatest challenge
  • How to transform the difficulties into

Role of WHO/EMRO
  • Extensive efforts are being made in countries of
    the region, in collaboration with the Regional
    Office to further develop and strengthen national
    programmes on occupational health and work safety
  • Main Goal By 2020 healthy workplaces and work
    practices will be widely adopted in Eastern
    Mediterranean Countries

Important Country Activities
  • Bahrain OSH Authority
  • Tunisia
  • - Regular publication of OHS Journal
  • - Annual OHS Conference on regular basis
  • Jordan National Strategy OHS
  • Iran Training Course on ILO Classification of
  • Kuwait Healthy Work Places Workshop
  • KSA national Workshop on OHS in Medical
  • UAE National Training Workshop on OHS for PHC
  • Egypt Several training courses for PHC workers
  • National workshop on protecting HCWs preventing
    needlestick injuries, 4-5 Dec. 2006

Important Regional Activities
  • Regional Consultative meeting on the development
    trends of occupational health and safety in the
    EMR Current status and perspective, Damascus,
    Syria, 16-18 Dec. 2003
  • Intercountry workshop on primary health care and
    basic occupational health services Challenges
    and opportunities in Eastern Mediterranean
    Region, Sharm ElSheikh, Egypt, 12-14 July 2005
  • Regional activities at GCC Level

(No Transcript)
Inter-regional activities the WHO/ILO Joint
Efforts on Occupational Health and Safety in
  • Unified Country Profile on Occupational Health in
    Egypt, prepared jointly with all partners
    concerned on occupational health and safety at
    national level
  • A workshop on the national occupational health
    and safety profile in Egypt was successfully
    organized in EMRO, Egypt, 2930 October 2003, as
    an activity of these joint efforts

Collaborative Programmes With WHO in OSH for the
06-07 Biennium
17 Countries
The WHO Global Plan of Action on Workers
Health 2008-2017
  • A Fresh Look
  • New Opportunities

In 1996, the 49th WHA with Resolution 49.12
endorsed the Global Strategy on Occupational
Health for All
  • strengthening of international and national
    policies for health at work
  • promotion of a healthy work environment, healthy
    work practices and health at work
  • (iii) strengthening of occupational health
  • (iv) establishment of appropriate support
    services for occupational health
  • (v) development of occupational health standards
    based on scientific risk assessment
  • (vi) development of human resources
  • (vii) establishment of registration and data
    systems and
  • (viii) strengthening of research

New political realities, initiatives and requests
by the Member States call for renewed attention
and global action by WHO on occupational health
WHO Response
  • There is a need to move from strategy to
    practical action in the area of workers health
  • WHO developed the Global Plan of Action on
    Workers Health 2008-2017 to provide new impetus
    for action

The plan is based on the proposals for action
made by
  • the Member States,
  • the consultations with
  • WHO Regional Offices,
  • relevant WHO technical programmes,
  • the WHO Collaborating Centres for Occupational
  • the International Labour Office/ILO and
  • international organizations of employers and

The health of the workers depends on a
combination of factors and a complex interaction
between them
  • Working environment mechanical, physical,
    chemical, biological, ergonomic, psycho-social
  • Social determinants related to work employment
    status, occupational position, social
    inequalities and poverty
  • Work-related health behaviour individual
    preventative health practices and personal
    health-related behaviour
  • Access to health services adequate and
    affordable occupational health services for
    promotion, prevention, cure and rehabilitation

This plan of action deals with workers health in
a broader context
  • Workers health is a public health approach to
    addressing the health problems of working
  • It focuses on
  • primary prevention of occupational and
    work-related diseases and injuries
  • protection and promotion of the health of workers
  • Occupational health constitutes the core of this

GPA on Workers Health 2008 - 2017
  • Outlines newly emerging challenges
  • Sets goals for protection and promotion of
    workers health
  • Recommends a series of strategic actions to be
    taken by the Member States and the WHO
    Secretariat over a ten year period

Objectives of GPA on Workers Health
  1. Develop and implement policy instruments on
    workers health
  2. Protect and promote health at the workplace
  3. Improve the performance of and the access to
    occupational health services
  4. Provide and communicate evidence for action and
  5. Incorporate workers health into other polices

The Challenges
  • Too many workers are still
  • exposed to unacceptable levels of occupational
  • fall victim to occupational diseases and work
    accidents, and
  • lose their working capacity and income potential
  • In many countries the existence of occupational
    health services is very limited and less than 15
    of workers have access to them

The Challenge Opportunity Globalization
  • Major impact through
  • growing internationalization, competition,
  • changes in the regulatory strategies,
  • major changes in enterprise structures and
    associated technology changes.
  • Numerous positive effects
  • Increasing world trade
  • Growing interaction among countries,
  • The development of new information technologies

Positive Role of Some Multinational Enterprises
  • Play an increasing role in shaping working
    conditions in the different countries
  • They can bring jobs, expertise, new work
    practices, better working conditions, and
    preventive health culture to the host countries

Negative Role of Some Multinational Enterprises
  • Different standards for health protection at work
    in the different countries
  • Commercial advantage

The Challenge Unemployment, Job Insecurity
increasing human interaction
  • Certain working methods and emerging forms of
    work organization such as
  • outsourcing,
  • downsizing, and
  • flexible work practices have an impact on workers
  • Psychosocial hazards, and work-related stress,
    resulting in burn-out, depression, coronary heart
    disease, musculoskeletal and other physical and
    mental disorders

The Challenge Informal Economy
  • The traditional worker-employer relationship does
    not exist
  • No healthy and safe working conditions
  • The costs are borne by the community and not by
    the employers

The Challenge Opportunity Collaboration between
all actors in the health sector
  • Occupational health is an integral part of public
    health and its activities can be enhanced with
    the involvement of
  • health promotion,
  • environmental health,
  • disease prevention,
  • the provision of general health services at work
    and other public health programmes

The Challenge Opportunity MDGs
  • What actions are needed to break the vicious

The Challenge Opportunity MDGs
  • Elimination of hazardous child labour,
  • Promotion of women's health and protection of
    reproductive health at work,
  • Combating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and
    other major diseases at the workplace
  • Introduction of clean technologies and systems
    for management of health at work

Further improvement of the health of workers
requires a holistic public health approach
  • Combining occupational health with health
    protection and promotion,
  • Reaching out to workers families and communities,
  • Tackling social determinants of health
  • Providing health services adequate to the
    specific needs of working populations

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