The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) successfully launched the new research agenda for 2018-2019, which is aimed towards studying attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The new agenda, which follows the government's directives to create key research and establish an innovative system for mental health, falls in line with the national policy activities aimed at promoting mental health in the UAE. During the launch, a summary of the research was presented to medical specialists and professionals attending the event. The event was held in the presence of H.E. Dr. Youssef Mohammed Al Serkal, Assistant Undersecretary for the Hospitals Sector, MOHAP; Dr. Mona Al Kuwari, Director of Specialized Care Department, MOHAP and Dr. Adel Kerani, Director of Al Amal Hospital, along with the members of the research teams.
According to MOHAP senior officials, the research agenda is seen as a scientific Instrument that can help in the creation of viable care solutions for children who have symptoms of ADHD. The agenda represents the first tier of studies in building a body of knowledge relevant to the UAE. The next stages will include a training for healthcare professionals about innovation in child mental health in addition to training and awareness programs in schools.
Dr. Al Serkal affirmed the Ministry's keenness to conduct innovative research that can help in improving health research and its effectiveness in the country--using the latest indicators and smart analysis tools needed for early detection and to provide a conducive research environment aimed at promoting children's mental health and creating innovative and appropriate solutions for the UAE community, while also ensuring the privacy of child patients and their families.
This initiative contributes to realizing the vision of the mental health policy that was approved by the government as part of the achievement of the national agenda targets in 2021 and in line with the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Plan for mental health 2013 - 2020.
Dr. Al Serkal stated, “We work to make the Ministry of Health and Prevention a stimulating institutional environment for innovation, research and development. Our goal is to make innovation one of the most important elements in health services, utilizing the research field to raise the level of diagnostic care and build global partnerships in the field of mental health in accordance with universally applicable standards. To improve mental health services, the agenda seeks to provide solutions that can detect mental disorders at an early stage, update statistical databases and promote scientific research through diagnostic surveys and providing care based on best clinical practices.
In this context, Dr. Mona Al Kuwari noted that research teams working on the agenda include specialists, physicians, and researchers in collaboration with Al-Amal Hospital and the Ministry's Statistics and Research Center. The agenda also includes three research projects that began this year and will run until the end of 2019. In addition, health institutions and children's mental health professionals, as well as the public, will be able to read and download these research materials and their outputs through the Ministry's website.
Research reinforces the role of educators in schools in supporting psychiatrists in their move to identify symptoms of ADHD, including the prevalence of disorders among school students, clinical practices and policies that contribute to the accurate diagnosis of the disorder.