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PMI tactics in promoting ‘Harm Reduction’ in UAE

Experts discussed ways in which individuals can practice harm reduction to improve quality of life

The ‘Harm Reduction: Time to meet in the Middle’ event was held on Tuesday, hosted by CNBC in partnership with Philip Morris Management Services Middle East and Tristar Group. Social responsibility was at the centre of discussions during the first of its kind event in the GCC region.

The event had discussions of ways in which individuals can practice harm reduction in various aspects of their daily lives. Medical doctors and industry experts, gathered together in raising awareness on the importance of harm reduction, on a regional and global scale.

“We often live our lives in the space between multiple things. Caring for our children, versus caring for our parents. The space between one job to another. I really want my key takeaway from all of today’s discussions to be the space between abstinence and prevention, and treatment and recovery is harm reduction. And I think that the widespread adoption of that space between those two pillars is really going to be key in protecting the wellbeing of millions and millions of individuals and coupled with public policy is crucial in helping us push this message,” Mazen Saleh, Policy Director, Integrated Harm Reduction, R Street Institute, USA, said to Arabian Business.

In a panel discussion with Professor Tara Rampal, Consultant Anaesthetist and public health expert in the NHS and CEO of Quest Prehabilitation, she discussed harm reduction in the healthcare sector. “It would be wonderful if there was no harmful behaviour in the world, it would be wonderful if people don’t smoke, don’t have a high BMI and so on.”

Harm reduction defines practices that an individual can apply in various aspects of life such as road safety, smoking, eating habits, sleep and more.

“Harm reduction adds dignity to human existence, what is our society if we don’t offer dignity to an individual,” she emphasised.

“Smoking is an addiction. This is where the concept of harm reduction plays a vital role. For example, heat-not-burn products use innovative technology to heat tobacco at a much lower temperature so no combustion occurs. By switching completely to smoke-free products, the exposure of adult smokers to harmful and potentially harmful constituents is significantly reduced. With this in mind, investment in innovation must continue, because innovation presents a solution to help adult smokers quit smoking and reduce the harmful effects of cigarettes for those who do not want to quit.” Professor David Khayat, Head of Medical Oncology, La Pitié-Salpétrière Hospital (Paris), told Arabian Business.

Road safety is an important aspect of Harm Reduction applicable to almost every individual around the world, Thomas Edelmann, Founder of RoadSafetyUAE explained to Arabian Business, “Data is fundamental when it comes to understanding what can be done around harm reduction. At RoadSafetyUAE, we are strong believers in accurate data, as it is fundamental to our work. For example, one of the major causes of fatalities on UAE roads is speeding. When we ask people why they speed, the majority of respondents say it is because they’re running late and need to catch up. So, we use that information to adapt our message and encourage individuals to begin their journey earlier. We really look at how we can deliver value in our messaging to prevent people from making the harmful and potentially harmful decisions.”

One of the key takeaways from the event is that individuals, healthcare providers and other stakeholders need to educate themselves and raise awareness regarding the different aspects of harm reduction and try and implement it as methods of daily practice.

Source: Arabian Business

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