• Bassam Radi, Managing Editor

Dubai International Nutrition Congress 2020 focuses on strengthening immunity to combat COVID-19

Humaid Al Qutami, Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority, DHA, inaugurated the 6th edition of the annual Dubai International Nutrition Congress, on Thursday.

The congress, which is being held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Minister of Finance and President of the DHA, is taking place from 22nd to 24th October, 2020.

The three-day event held under the theme "Your Immunity is Your Treasure", is taking place at the Rashid Medical Library Auditorium, Dubai Health Innovation Centre, where attendees joined the congress virtually. More than 2,600 virtual views were recorded on the first day.

Al Qutami stressed during his opening speech the importance of holding this conference at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted institutions and societies to reconsider all healthcare policies and procedures related to protection and prevention against communicable diseases.

"Perhaps the messages that we highlighted in our previous five editions, where nutrition experts emphasized the importance and the necessity of protecting public health, and enhancing immunity through healthy dietary patterns are the same messages that the world is focusing on right now to protect ourselves from COVID-19," he said.

Al Qutami said that the congress’s slogan this year "Your Immunity is Your Treasure" reflects the importance that nutrition has in aiding humans in resisting and preventing diseases adding that while this message is not new, there is a need to emphasize the importance of strengthening immunity during this current situation and encouraging communities to adopt healthy nutritional habits.

"We hope to come out of this congress with scientific and medical recommendations that contribute to strengthening our health prevention system as this is what global health institutions and organisations are now relying on when facing COVID-19," Al Qutami said in conclusion.

The congress will see 35 speakers highlight the latest research and the best practices in the field of clinical nutrition over three days. The speakers will also discuss various topics related to COVID-19, such as its impact on mental health, the quality of life, nutrition, and assessment of eating habits and lifestyle, to name a few.

During her opening speech, Dr Wafaa Ayesh, Director of Clinical Nutrition Department at the DHA and Conference Chairman stated, "We must take care of our natural-line of defence that protects our bodies from disease, which is the immune system. The immune system is the first and most important line of defence against disease and infection, so everything must be done to enhance its ability to do its job to prevent diseases."

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