Doha (AFP) – As many as 1,000 Qatar World Cup construction workers are receiving health checks as part of a pilot programme agreed between the 2022 tournament organisers and Weill Cornell Medicine.
In a statement Tuesday World Cup organisers said workers, selected at random, are being tested for such things as diet, blood pressure, and kidney function.
Researchers say the results are primarily aimed at improving workers’ nutritional requirements and could help other companies and Qatar deal with the desert country’s harsh climate.
“The impact of this initiative… could be huge particularly if, as we hope, the findings are taken on board by other companies and international businesses operating in Qatar,” said Weill’s research leader Dr. Shahrad Taheri.
The project began in February, the World Cup organising body, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, said in a statement adding that the results will be published in a “detailed report”.
Weill Cornell is one of several American academic institutions which has a presence in Qatar, with a campus opening back in 2001.
The head of the supreme committee, Hassan Al-Thawadi, said the research could help uncover “health concerns among our workers”.
Since controversially being awarded the 2022 World Cup — the first to be played in the Middle East — Qatar has faced huge international criticism for its treatment of migrant workers.
Last year, Amnesty International accused Qatar of using “forced labour” at one World Cup site.
And a recent Supreme Committee-commissioned report found that some World Cup venue labourers worked 18-hour days.
Qatar though has denied many of the criticisms and says it has made significant steps in improving workers’ welfare in areas such as pay, accommodation and on-site safety.
There are some 14,000 workers employed directly on World Cup projects in Qatar.
That number will jump to 36,000 in the 12 months, organisers said.
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