Launched in 2014, the Ajman Public Health Programme aims to raise awareness and promote practical knowledge within the food-handling industry. A key objective of the programme is ensuring the integrity of food, for which the cold chain is a vital aspect. Since its launch, the programme is being rolled out in phases. The programme began with the hospitality sector, covering 10 hotels during its pilot stage and has since moved on to other industries, such as fisheries.
Abdulla Abdulrazaq Al Tamimi, Head of Public Health, Municipality and Planning Department, Ajman, outlined the scope of the programme, saying that it focuses on two aspects: Good Hygienic Practices (GHP) and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) certification. He said he sees an opportunity for the private sector to keenly participate in the programme. “We believe that the private sector is also sharing a responsibility with the government institutions,” Al Tamimi said. “Our role is not limited to licensing and controlling the premises. We both need to gather and double our efforts in order to move forward. We cannot do the classical work of doing the inspection on a day-to-day basis; this is no longer valid. We are transferring the responsibility to the private sector, and aligning all levels with the group of businesses.”
A key strategy in awareness building has been to unify the language of communication to promote standardisation and ensure everyone has access to the same information, procedure and terminology. This was done to address the diverse nature of nationalities working in the UAE.
Al Tamimi said that the programme is “taking a mature step in 2017”, noting that it will be focusing on schools in the year and on labour camps in 2018, as many companies operate in Ajman.
To date, the programme has covered more than 1,500 people and trained over 200 GHP managers, exclusively within companies based and operating in Ajman. Al Tamimi commented on the importance of gleaning from the insights shared by neighbouring emirates, like Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah, saying that they have also established similar programmes, which while having different applications, have a similar concept.