activities

Preventive measures for students of the University of Technology-Iraq for a safe university atmosphere in light of the Covid-19 pandemic

Under the patronage of the President of the University of Technology (Prof. Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Hassan Al-Ghabban) and under the direct supervision of the Director of the Environment Research Center (Prof. Dr. Abdul Hameed Muhammad Jawad Al-Obaidi), the Environment Research Center in cooperation with the Communicable Disease Control Center and the Nutrition Research Institute held Department of Public Health - Ministry of Health and Environment, a remote scientific seminar using the (ZOOM) platform under the title "Preventive measures for students of the University of Technology for a safe university atmosphere in light of the Covid-19 pandemic" on 11/23/2020 at 8:00 pm. This seminar was moderated online by M.D. Mukhallad Amer Hussein (Chairman of the Scientific Activity Committee at the Center) with the help of M. Zahraa Zahrao Farhan (Instructor at the center).
Dr. Nadia Majeed Abdel Hameed (Specialist Physician - Community Medicine, Center for Communicable Diseases Control - Public Health Department) gave the first lecture for this symposium under the title "Reopening of Universities and Colleges in the Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic". The lecture indicated that universities, as educational environments, are the basic building block in providing life with the required specializations. In order for these universities to continue their work after they have been suspended for a long time due to the current conditions of the Coronavirus pandemic, all necessary precautions must be taken to prevent the spread of the disease and to protect all its employees, including students, faculty members, employees, technicians, visitors, and others, by adopting an integrated work program for this purpose. The program begins with spreading health and environmental awareness by introducing the Coronavirus, methods of infection and disease spread, as well as activating the concepts of prevention from it. This prevention included researching all available means to provide a safe working environment from infection by achieving safe spacing, continuous sterilization, healthy ventilation, and daily examination for all workforce at the university. In conclusion, the lecture recommended the necessity to follow all the instructions issued by the official authorities regarding this pandemic and adhere to it, especially the absence of an effective vaccine against this virus from a practical point of view so far in Iraq and the most effective solution to deal with it is to follow preventive measures to prevent infection and its spread.
While Dr. Hassanein Ismail Malik (Specialist Physician - Epidemiology, Institute of Nutrition Research - Department of Public Health) gave the second lecture of this symposium under the title "Harmful Effects of Dietary Supplements When over-consumed on the General Health of Humans". The lecturer indicated that the goal of nutritional supplements is to supplement the human diet with nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, and amino acids, which may be missing in a person's diet. Consequently, these supplements are important for the human body to obtain the necessary elements necessary for the proper functioning of its cells and reduce the risk of contracting many diseases resulting from the lack of these nutritional supplements.
The lecturer indicated that consuming large quantities of these nutritional supplements in a way that exceeds the body's actual need for them causes harmful effects on the work of cells and thus infection with some diseases. Therefore, the lecturer recommended that the health instructions issued by the specialist doctor in this field should be followed when dealing with them, with reference to a balanced diet sufficient to provide the body with all the elements necessary for the proper functioning of its cells. The lecturer suggested the necessity of scientific and research cooperation between academic institutions such as universities and research centers and between departments of the Ministry of Health and Environment for the sake of vital support for food.
After that, the participants were allowed to debate and express their opinion and dialogue with the lecturers, which eventually emerged from a set of recommendations, illustrated below.
In conclusion, the Director of the Environmental Research Center extended his thanks and gratitude to the lecturers and all attendees for their participation in this symposium.
Recommendations
1. With regard to the first axis (reopening universities and colleges in light of the Covid-19 pandemic): -
1.1 Activating the virus prevention program as an effective option at the present time and providing all means and supplies necessary for its success in terms of:
• Holding scientific seminars to stimulate health awareness for students in the university community, because the student has the ability to influence his social environment in terms of adherence to safety and prevention rules.
• Providing personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, as well as antiseptics and others.
2.1 Activating scientific research mechanisms between the various departments of the Ministry of Health and Iraqi universities in order to conduct solid scientific research that reflects positively on the health situation in Iraq.
2. With regard to the second axis (the harmful effects of nutritional supplements when they are over-consumed on the general health of the person): -
1.2 Spreading awareness of moving towards healthy food instead of nutritional supplements in order to avoid excessive cases and the resulting harm to human health.
2.2 Encouraging sober scientific research between the Ministry of Health and Environment and Iraqi universities to produce enjoyable agricultural crops
With its ability to accumulate micro-nutrients in it, i.e. its vital support.

The scientific symposium entitled (Addressing the Challenges of Hidden Hunger)

On behalf of the president of University of Technology-UOT (Prof. Dr. Ahmed Al-Gaban) and the direct supervision by Prof. Dr. Abdullhamed Al-Obaidy who is the director of Environment Research Center (ERC)-UOT

The ERC held in cooperation with the Nutrition Research Institute-Public Health Directorate-Ministry of Health and Environment a scientific symposium online using the ZOOM platform entitled (Addressing the Challenges of Hidden Hunger) on 22/9/2020 at 9.00 p.m. This symposium was electronically managed by Dr. Mukheled A. Hussien (head of scientific activity committee at ERC) as a coordinator with the assistance of Mrs. Zahraa Z. Farhan (lecturer at ERC).

The first lecturer, Dr. Mohammed Jasim Ahmed (FICMS/CM, Nutrition Research Institute) gave a lecture within the first part of this symposium under the title “Health Food Strategy in Iraq”. The lecturer showed the importance of the plan "National Nutrition Strategy" prepared by the Ministry of Health and Environment in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund from 2012 to 2021. This plan aimed to develop a sound basis in terms of planning, organizing and managing the public sectors related to nutrition, ensuring the improvement of health and nutritional status of the Iraqi individual. The lecturer discussed the nutritional indicators in almost Iraqi governorates and addressed malnutrition diseases for children under the age of 5 years in conjunction of disease of Anemia (deficiency in the iron element), vitamins and others. For dealing with these cases, a practical program was adopted in fortifying basic foodstuffs such as wheat flour using premix to increase the proportion of iron and salt iodization. In addition, many programs have been adopted to support food for school students and spread health awareness in these schools in particular and society in general. The lecturer recommended the necessity of scientific and research cooperation between academic institutions such as universities and research centers and the directories of Ministry of Health and Environment in order to develop methods of fortifying food with the necessary elements to prevent the occurrence of diseases harmful to public health.

While the second lecturer Assist. Prof. Basim H. Faraj (lecturer in the Department of Sustainable Development-ERC) gave a lecture within the second part under the title "Biofortification for Sustainable Diet". The lecturer stated that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has defined a sustainable food system as a system that provides healthy food containing micro-elements (micronutrients) of vitamins and minerals (which are essential components of a high-quality diet) to meet current nutritional needs in conjunction with keeping healthy ecosystems that can provide food for the next generations at the minimal negative impact on the environment. These micronutrients are the essential components that can directly affect human health where their lack at the minimum level can cause what is called “Hidden Hunger”. For example, zinc element plays a vital role in participating in a wide range of biological activities of cells, and thus its decrease negatively affects the performance of these cells. To achieve a sustainable food strategy, the biofortification plays a fundamental role in enriching economic plants with micro-nutrients or vitamins that are unable to produce them at all or produce them in limited quantities. In order to alleviate hidden hunger, the traditional method of enriching crops with micro-elements such as foliage spraying or through soil additions or added with irrigation water. However, some strategic crops for physiological or anatomical reasons and others cannot absorb micronutrients and then they transfer them in the plant, so it is possible to apply a method in terms of genetic foundations without changing the genetic material such as selection and hybrid. Also, in some cases, these methods do not work because they require to transfer genes related to the absorption of elements or the manufacture of some biological compounds between individuals who are genetically distant organisms, and thus genetic engineering technology can be used.

The lecturer recommended at the end of his lecture that it is necessary to determine the needs of the Iraqi individual based on surveys by the Ministry of Health and Environment and then going towards research programs for the treatment in terms of the adoption of a national program. This program can be participated by the relevant specialized sectors in cooperation with the Nutrition Research Institute.

Finally, the participants were allowed to discuss, express opinions and dialogue with the lecturers, which finally led to establish a set of recommendations. These recommendations will be actively considered and announced later.

In conclusion, the Director of ERC expressed his sincere gratitude to both lecturers and all participants for attending in this symposium

International scientific symposium“Coronavirus Disease and Enhancing Immunity for Health Sustainability

On behalf of the president of University of Technology-UOT (Prof. Dr. Ahmed Al-Gaban) and the direct supervision by Prof. Dr. Abdullhamed Al-Obaidy who is the director of Environmental Research Center (ERC)-UOT, the ERC held in cooperation with the Nutrition Research Institute-Public Health Directorate-Ministry of Health and Environment a scientific symposium online using the ZOOM platform entitled (Coronavirus Disease and Enhancing Immunity for Health Sustainability) on 19/6/2020 at 9.00 p.m. This symposium was electronically managed by Dr. Mukheled Hussien (head of scientific activity committee-ERC) as a coordinator with the assistance of Dr. Muhammed Taha and Mrs. Zahraa Farhan (lecturers-ERC).

An inaugural talk was started by the President of UOT who stated the importance of carrying out this symposium at the current circumstances in terms of Coronavirus pandemic, which represents a major challenge at the global and regional levels. Then, the second talk was started by the vice chancellor for scientific and postgraduate affairs (Prof. Dr. Alaa Abdulhasan) who stated the important role for cooperation between official institutions in spreading health and environmental awareness to protection of the Iraqi citizen as an intended target.

After that the first lecturer, Dr. Abdul-Hameed Salim Barrak (M.B.Ch.B, Nutrition Research Institute) gave a lecture within the first part of this symposium under the title "What is Corona’s Disease".

The lecturer clarified the nature and characteristics of coronavirus, methods of infection, the epidemiological map of this disease, the reasons for the continuous increase in the rates of infection for all Iraqi governorates and the efforts of the Ministry of Health and Environment at the current time. Also, he showed the efforts and recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the scientific efforts by all countries in the world to manufacture a successful vaccine against this virus. At the end of lecture, he pointed out that there has not been yet any vaccine that has proven its effectiveness against this virus in practical application. Therefore, the most effective solution to deal with it is to follow preventive measures to prevent infection and its spread. Finally, he recommended that the necessity of scientific cooperation between the different countries of the world and consolidating the efforts and solid scientific research in finding an effective vaccine in the future.

While the second lecturer Assist. Prof. Basim H. Faraj (lecturer in the Department of Sustainable Development-ERC) gave a lecture within the second part under the title "Covid 19 and Enhancing the Immune System". He discussed the importance of enhancing immune methods naturally, and thus playing a positive constructive role in the face of Coronavirus. He clarified that healthy nutrition depending on specific types of food and following a healthy lifestyle play a vital role in enhancing the natural immunity of human.

After the end of lectures, the President of UOT acknowledged clearly the efforts made in organizing and managing this symposium by the ERC, the scientific content of these lectures and lecturers. After that, the vice chancellor for scientific and postgraduate affairs expressed his admiration for the scientific content of this symposium in terms of significant information presented by the lecturers and also acknowledged the academic staff of the ERC in organizing this event.

Finally, the participants from inside and outside Iraq were allowed to discuss, express opinions and dialogue with the lecturers, which finally led to establish a set of recommendations. These recommendations will be actively considered and announced later.

In conclusion, the Director of ERC expressed his sincere gratitude to the President of UOT, the vice chancellor for scientific and postgraduate affairs and all participants for attending in this symposium.

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