About OPEN Gulf

In an effort to reverse the growing epidemic in the GCC and to help address the multifaceted nature of obesity, OPEN Gulf was established in October 2019 as part of the global OPEN network.

The core focus of OPEN Gulf is to create a region-wide coalition, aiming towards tackling obesity from a multidisciplinary perspective. In order to achieve this core focus, OPEN Gulf also aims to establish a National Task Force in each member of the Gulf countries to develop a national road map to improve obesity care and outcomes in their respective countries.

Key Activities

Held in Kuwait, the OPEN Gulf inaugural meeting brought together 50 delegates from five countries, comprising policy makers, healthcare professionals, patient representatives and other thought leaders in the field of obesity from Kuwait, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Bahrain and Oman to re-think how obesity is currently being tackled in the region. Delegates were provided with the opportunity to push obesity thinking to new levels across the region and learn how “box-less thinking” and service redesign can help find sustainable solutions for the epidemic.

The meeting was hosted under the patronage of the Ministry of Health in Kuwait, and co-hosted with the Embassy of Denmark, the World Obesity Federation, the Gulf Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society, the Economist Intelligence Unit and Novo Nordisk.

The overarching theme of the inaugural meeting was ‘Prioritising Obesity’, with the aim being to help representatives strengthen their collective voice nationally to effectively drive change in the way their countries view and manage obesity. The agenda was designed to provide attendees with the opportunity to be part of a high-level coalition of policy makers, to push obesity thinking to new levels regionally, and to gain insight into the importance of a ‘collective voice’ to drive long-term change. Representatives also learned how novel ideas can provide sustainable solutions, how service redesigns from other disciplines may be relevant, and discussed best practices for tackling obesity’s complexity.

Priorities in 2020 and beyond

  • Sharing an executive summary of the OPEN Gulf inaugural meeting with existing members
  • Supporting governments with the establishment of a National Task Force in each member state, recognising that Kuwait, UAE, KSA, Bahrain and Oman operate in different political and healthcare environments
  •  Agreeing on ways of working, member structure and commitment to moving focus areas forward
  • Working on a national road map to improve obesity care

Members of OPEN Gulf

Status: June 2020

Below is a list of delegates who participated in the inaugural meeting of OPEN Gulf:


  • H.E. Dr. Basel Al Sabah, Minister of Health, State of Kuwait
  • H.E Ole Moesby, Ambassador of Denmark to KSA, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen
  • Dr. Salman Al Sabah, Head of Kuwait Surgical Association, Consultant Surgeon
  • Dr. Rehab Al Watian, Head of Kuwait Primary Care, Ministry of Health
  • Dr. Mohammed Al Jarallah, Head of Bariatric Surgery Association
  • Dr. Youssef Bou Abbas, Head of Kuwait Obesity Association
  • Dr. Intissar Al Chami, Head of Nutrition, Ministry of Health
  • Dr. Ebaa Al Ozairi, Chief Medical officer, Dasman Diabetes Institute
  • Dr. Ahmad Nabeel, CEO, Gulf Medical Technologies
  • Prof. Adel Kayed, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University
  • Laura Divine, Principal, Al Bayan School
  • Dr. Mousa Khorshid, Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University
  • Dr. Mohammad Jamal, Program Director, Kuwait Institute for Medical Specialization
  • Dr. Ayman Al Mutawaa, CEO, Al Salam International Hospital
  • Dr. Ibrahim Badawi, Media Consultant, Senior Media Specialist, Ministry of Health
  • Dr. Wajd Al Othman, Ministry of Health
  • Dr. Maha Al Majed, Ministry of Health


  • Dr. Fadila Mohammed Sharif, Director of Health Education, Ministry of Health and Prevention
  • Dr. Omniyat Al Hajiri, Director of Public Health, Department of Health
  • Dr. Farida Al Hosani, Director of Communicable Diseases, Department of Health
  • Yousef Al Marzouki, CEO Office, Department of Health
  • Dr. Mohammed Farghali, Director of Health Insurance Policy and Health Economics, Dubai Health Authority
  • Dr. Ali Khamas, Consultant in Bariatric Surgery and Endoscopy, Rashid Hospital
  • Paul Epping, Coach, Exo Works
  • Dr. Maryam Matar, Founder and Chairperson, UAE Genetics Disease Association


  • Dr. Tareef Al A’ma, Deputy Minister of Health for Therapeutics Services, Ministry of Health
  • Dr. Faisal AlDahmash, Head of Specialized Centres, Ministry of Health
  • Dr. Hajer Almudaiheem, Head of Drug Information Centre, Ministry of Health
  • Dr. Saud AlSifri AlHada, Armed Forces Hospital, Taif
  • Prof. Tawfik Khoja, Secretary General, Arab Hospital Federation


  • HE. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa, Chairman, Supreme Council of Health
  • Dr. Leena Al Saffar, Primary Care, Ministry of Health
  • Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Al Ansari, Director or Training and Planning, Supreme Council of Health
  • Dr. Dalal Al Romaihi, Consultant Endocrinologist, King Hamad University Hospital


  • Dr. Shaza bin Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Raeisiah, Director of the Department of Non-Communicable diseases, Directorate General of Primary Healthcare
  • Dr. Mona bin Omar bin Majed Alhakmanieh, The National Diabetic and Endocrine Center


1 Samara, A., Tanggaard Andersen, P. and R. Aro, A., 2019. Health Promotion And Obesity In The Arab Gulf States: Challenges And Good Practices. [online] hindawi.com. Available at:

2 Sulaiman, N. and Peeters, A. (2017). Prevalence of overweight and obesity in United Arab Emirates Expatriates: the UAE National Diabetes and Lifestyle Study. [online] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5667520/