Cigna has published the fifth edition of its Cigna COVID-19 Global Impact Study, which highlights an improvement in the UAE’s health and well-being index as compared to the global average.
As a series of reports launched in 2020, the study aims to better understand the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s health and well-being. The last phase of the study was conducted between November 23 and December 2, 2020, coinciding with the COVID-19 vaccine roll out in the country, surveyed 2253 people from key eight markets. Previous versions of the study were conducted last year from January to February, April, May to June, July to August, and October.
UAE Ends the Year Strong
The UAE wrapped up 2020 with a strong performance on the overall Wellbeing Index, compared to other markets with a score of 67.4 points in December, up by 1.8 points in October 2020. The global average, on the other hand, was 60.9 points in December.
The survey showed improvements in the physical, family, social, financial, and work health aspects of residents as life returned to a semblance of normalcy in the UAE. The improved scores across sectors emphasized the country’s continued resilience at the end of the year.
Stress and Always-on Culture Remains a Threat
While overall scores have improved across all indexes, consistent Always On culture and resulting stress remains a threat in the UAE. A startling 68% reported work-related stress, registering the highest stress levels since January 2020. The prevailing always-on culture, which consistently recorded high levels of around 93% through 2020, has led to increased stress levels.
Evolved Employee Expectations
Employees are more aware of their healthcare needs today and are seeking enhanced and holistic health coverage plans, which include both mental and physical health. A majority of the participants (74 percent) are seeking enhanced health cover in December and 69 percent expect more mental health support from their employers. With this, companies are looking at solutions that not only cater to employee needs, but are simple, affordable and accessible for them.
Virtual Health Acceptance Increases, but with Skepticism
Use of technology is shaping the future of healthcare. 77 percent of respondents said they are likely to get virtual health consultations in December. With this increased acceptance of telehealth and data mining, it is being leveraged to improve healthcare access, services, and outcomes. It is also enabling governments and healthcare providers in making healthcare more accessible.
All through 2020 this data has been useful in understanding the experiences and state of UAE residents. At Cigna, we have leveraged this intelligence to better serve the population with tailored solutions including a partnership with German Neuroscience Center to offer complimentary mental health consultations to all residents. For employers, Cigna has developed resources such as the International Employee Assistance Program to empower them to better manage employee stress and well-being at the workplace.
Cigna’s Stress Care for individuals is available here.
The full report can be read here.