Medics find elderly Omanis in Musandam are healthier than younger villagers
April 12, 2017 | 9:34 PM
by Gautam Viswanathan/[email protected]
Health check-up: The Cleveland Clinic in collaboration with the Six Senses Zighy Bay Resort provided free health check-ups to residents recently. -Supplied photo

Khasab: Lifestyle choices are to blame for younger Omanis in Musandam being unhealthier than their parents, said a doctor working at a mobile clinic in the Sultanate’s northern outpost.

Dr. Wael Jaber and his team of five doctors from the Cleveland Clinic in collaboration with the Six Senses Zighy Bay (SSZB) Resort provided free health check-ups to residents recently.

“We saw people, who were in their 80s and 90s, and they’re as healthy as they can be,” he told the Times of Oman. “The younger ones are in worse shape. We examined people in their 20s and they’re all overweight.”

“Every patient who walked in here brought in blood tests with them and the cholesterol levels were very high and extremely similar to what you see in the West,” he said. “We asked them where they got their food from and they all said they buy it from supermarkets. No one grows their own food anymore.”

“For example, we met this 47-year-old gentleman who told us that he didn’t eat meat anymore,” added Jaber, a cardiologist.

“All he did was spend money on sweets and ice cream. People have switched their diets to western ones and we’re seeing exactly the same problems here.”

Another problem Jaber and his team found was a prevalence of high blood pressure among people—a direct consequence of adopting a fast-food diet. “The second issue we saw was with blood pressure,” he explained.

“People here think they need to only take a pill if they feel something, but blood pressure is silent. You have to take medication regularly, and increase the dose if you need more. Patients here just take the pills when they want to.”

Maintain blood pressure

“We were explaining to most of the patients the importance of practices to maintain blood pressure and pursue healthy eating because they are not familiar with these things and we needed to explain what was and wasn’t healthy, so I think it is best for them to stick to the traditional Omani diet,” he added.

SSZB had provided Cleveland Clinic with two examination rooms at the resort, for people to come in and meet the doctors.

“The public are very appreciative of the effort, and because three of the doctors speak the language, communication has been easy,” added Jaber. “The hotel had also provided translators, and after some of the villagers came to see us, they went back and brought their families with them.”

“I came here for a personal visit last year and I went with the owners of the hotel to see the villagers, who told me that they had no doctors, so I wondered if we could volunteer to do some health screenings on behalf of the Cleveland Clinic.” SSZB General Manager, Aaron McGrath, was happy to see so many patients turn up at the mobile clinic.

“We always believe in doing good,” he said. “We could not hope to care for guests if we did not first care for our people and the communities we are part of. We treasure local relationships and are happy to be able to contribute to these communities.

“As a sustainable resort, which values global sensitivity and local sensibility, we understand that we must be caring and responsible, and pioneer wellness, added McGrath. “We truly believe a collaboration like this should be organised continuously for our mutual benefit.”

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