Bahrain tackles rise in diabetes

Gulf Daily News reports that more than a quarter of Bahrainis have developed type 2 or adult-onset diabetes, mainly caused by poor diet and overeating, a health official has revealed.

Twenty-seven percent have developed the illness while more than 1,000 children, aged below 15, have been diagnosed with juvenile type 1 diabetes, Health Ministry assistant undersecretary for training and planning Dr Fawzi Amin said.

“The high number of patients has turned diabetes into a major problem of national scale,” he said. He also warned that “diabetes is a major cause for the sharp increase in school drop-outs and low productivity among employees.

It also erodes government resources due to the high cost of treatment.” According to statistics released by the World Health Organisation, 250 million people are diabetic, a figure expected to rise to 380 million over the next 20 years.

Bahrain joined other countries to mark World Diabetes Day on 14 November.



Clemenceau Medical Center holds women’s cancer meet

Clemenceau Medical Center (CMC), Beirut, Lebanon, affiliated with Johns Hopkins Medicine International, hosted a specialised medical symposium entitled “Women’s Health” to shed light on risk factors, screening and diagnosing of malignant tumours in women, especially breast and ovarian cancer, and the treatments and preventive medicine available.

Selected by Johns Hopkins Medicine International to be one of its affiliate medical centers, CMC enjoys a global reputation of excellence, delivering the latest diagnosis and treatment services to patients in Lebanon and the region.

This symposium marks the cooperation between CMC and Johns Hopkins Medicine International, aiming at sharing knowledge and medical experience.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting women around the world. Dr Mounes Kalaawi, Chief Executive Officer and Chief of Surgery at CMC hospital, said the programme is part of a series of such initiatives that started three years ago in order to improve the exchange of expertise and knowledge between healthcare practitioners in Johns Hopkins Medicine International and CMC hospital.

It aims to introduce the latest treatment and technology to improve the quality of health for our patients in Lebanon and the region.



New luxury hospital planned for Abu Dhabi

United Eastern Medical Services (UEM) unveiled its flagship project, Danat Al Emarat, at the Abu Dhabi Medical Congress, which took place from 26 – 29 October 2008.

The US$205 million complex will become one of the largest Women and Children’s hospitals in Abu Dhabi and the rest of the region as well as the most comfortable and luxurious.

The hospital will be at the medical forefront, with the latest technology supporting the most advanced surgical and diagnostic procedures. Ground is set to be broken for Phase 1 of Danat Al Emarat at the end of 2008 and is set for completion in 2011.

Danat Al Emarat will be set over an immense 92,000 square meters and will be the first all-digital hospital in the capital. The hospital will offer medical and surgical services, a labour evaluation unit, a highrisk pregnancy unit, labour, delivery, and recovery rooms, and a Special Care Nursery.

It will also house inpatient and outpatient surgical suites, a 24- hour emergency department and adult and paediatric intensive care units.

Additional facilities will also include primary care and specialty clinics and a signature Spa & Wellness institute that integrates medical science with fitness and education programs. This centre will work in conjunction with the Pediatric ICU, which focuses specifically on children aged two to twelve months but can also care for younger and older children.


The Imaging and Diagnostic Centre will use the latest technology to provide efficient services for radiography, ultra-sound imaging, mammography testing, resonance imaging and others.



DHCC’s University Hospital appoints Chair of Surgery

The University Hospital, part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Academic Medical Center of Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC), a member of Tatweer, announced the appointment of Dr Verdi J. DiSesa in October as the first Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Surgeon-in-Chief.

Dr DiSesa will lead the development of the department and oversee all surgical activities in the Academic Medical Center. Dr DiSesa has more than 24 years of experience in academic surgery.

He obtained his education and training at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania in the United States and has an international reputation for excellence in patient care, teaching, and research. Dr DiSesa has been Medical Director of the Cardiovascular Center, which he helped establish in 2001 at The Chester County Hospital in Pennsylvania. He is certified by the American Boards of Thoracic Surgery, Internal Medicine, and Surgery.

Dr DiSesa’s special skills include integrated disease management, valvular heart disease, and transplantation biology. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, and the American Surgical Association and other major international organisations.

He serves on the editorial boards of several international medical journals such as the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.



DoHMS licensing division joins DHA health regulation team

The Licensing and Specification Division at the Department of Health and Medical Services (DoHMS) has joined the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) health regulation team, moving offices in Dubai Healthcare City.

The move reinforces the intended transfer of all licensing matters to the DHA in the near future. The Licensing and Specification Division of DoHMS establishes, develops and enforces health related standards in private hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Its four main functions are licensing of healthcare facilities, credentialing of healthcare professionals, inspecting, monitoring and controlling of healthcare facilities, and dealing with medical complaints.

The Licensing and Specification Division of DoHMS will continue to manage these responsibilities until further notice. However, by moving to the DHA regulation team, the government intends that all licensing of facilities and healthcare professionals in Dubai will be transferred to the DHA. Once it takes over its regulatory responsibilities, the DHA health regulation team will undertake a much wider remit.

There are currently over ten existing bodies responsible for regulating healthcare within Dubai. This is not conducive to the continued growth of the healthcare sector in Dubai and to maintaining and promoting high standards of quality care as the population continues to grow.



Diabetes likely to cost UAE Dh10b by 2020

Research on diabetes across the UAE suggests that the disease will cost an estimated Dh10 billion by 2020 if current conditions do not change, reports the Gulf News.

The alarming estimation is a result of a report initiated by the National Health Insurance Company (Daman) which says that even though diabetes represents only five per cent of their health insurance claims, a hypothetical future figure had be built around the UAE’s highest problematic health condition.

“The Dh10 billion estimation is based on only five per cent of our claims on diabetes,” said Dr Jad Aoun, Chief Medical Officer at Daman. Approximately 150 million people worldwide live with the condition and that number is expected to double by 2025.

● Meanwhile, the UAE Government spent approximately Dhs6 billion (US$1.6bn) for the management of diabetes and its complications in the past year, according to Dr Ahmed Hassoun, Director of Education & Research of Joslin Diabetes Center affiliate at Dubai Healthcare Authority (DHA).

He was speaking at a DHA conference – “Together We Fight Diabetes” – to mark World Diabetes Day on 14 November 2008. The conference called for government officials, industry executives and healthcare professionals to take action to produce real and immediate differences in the way the United Arab Emirates thinks about and treats diabetes.

It brought together national and local medical experts in diabetes care, healthcare professionals, diabetics and those at risk for diabetes for a day of informative and motivational programmes.

Dr Hamed Farooqi, Medical Director of Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at DHA, said: “Diabetes is demanding and people’s daily decisions have an immediate impact on their health. At the same time, information about living with diabetes is complex. Education is critical to staying on top of this disease.”

Dr Hassoun said: “In the UAE it is estimated that one out of five people, aged 20 to 79, lives with this disease, while a similar percent of population is at risk of developing it.

Furthermore, one out of four UAE nationals has diabetes. Approximately half of the people with diabetes in the UAE are unaware that they suffer from diabetes.” He warned that the “problem is progressing and it is estimated that the number of UAE nationals with prediabetes may reach or exceed the diabetic population, which will increase the burden of the disease.”

Dr Farooqi said: “According to statistics, mortality linked to diabetes mellitus constitutes 75% of the deaths among UAE nationals and 31% among non-nationals. We are here to ensure that radical changes be made through DHA initiatives such as Joslin Diabetes Center and through educating the public.”



Most residents happy with Dubai healthcare services

In a survey published early November, 73% of all respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of healthcare in Dubai.

The online survey was commissioned by PA Consulting Group to examine patients’ views on the quality of healthcare in Dubai and involved nearly 500 people who live or work in Dubai and 400 patients who have visited a hospital or clinic in the past two years.

Of all respondents 73% said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of healthcare in Dubai, however amongst Emiratis only 53% of all respondents were satisfied. Speaking at the conference, PA’s International Healthcare Partner Howard Lyons said: “It appears that there is a difference between the views of Emiratis and Western Expats. Overall, 64% of Western Expats thought the private hospitals provided better healthcare than the government compared with only 43% of Emiratis.

When it comes to what is the most important requirement for ensuring quality of healthcare, only 56% of Emiratis mentioned highly-skilled medical staff whilst nearly 80% of Western Expats made this the number one priority.

Emiratis also regard well equipped facilities and an effective regulatory body as key components of high quality healthcare services”.

The survey found 81% of respondents felt health insurance will make healthcare more accessible and this rose to 90% amongst the over 50s age group.

However, most respondents felt they were not sufficiently informed about the new health insurance scheme. Regarding quality of care, 57% of respondents felt this would improve with the introduction of health insurance.

Lyons said, “Dubai has ambitions to be a world class city and has already made its mark in the world through its prestige construction projects. However, building a world class health system takes much longer and requires commitment and leadership from the very top, right down to the front-line clinical staff giving high quality treatment on a day-to-day basis. You can’t just change the system overnight, you need to change the performance of every individual in the system whether in the government hospitals or in the private sector.”

PA Consulting is one of the world’s leading healthcare consulting firms specialising in performance improvement and health sector reform and was engaged by the Dubai Government last year to design the blueprint for the new health system for Dubai.



City Hospital opens in DHCC

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, officially opened The City Hospital, the first multi-disciplinary hospital in Dubai Healthcare City, on 22 October.

The City Hospital, part of Dubai-based Welcare World Group, is a 210-bed hospital, offering advanced diagnostic facilities and specialised treatment in a wide range of medical disciplines.

The City Hospital provides patients with expertise in a variety of specialist areas including cardiology and cardiac surgery, dentistry, dermatology, ENT, family medicine, general practice, internal medicine, neurosurgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, endocrinology, vascular surgery, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, paediatrics and neonatology, pulmonology, plastic surgery, nephrology, anaesthesia, gastroenterology, breast surgery, radiology, urology, intensive care and emergency care.

Facilities at City Hospital include a 3T MRI, a 64-slice CT scanner, digital mammography, a Digital Bone Densitometer for osteoporosis assessment, a digital cath lab, an on-site pathology lab, conventional radiology and ultrasound facilities.



HMSDC commits to major diabetes initiative

The Harvard Medical School Dubai Center (HMSDC) Institute for Postgraduate Education and Research and Dubai Harvard Foundation for Medical Research, members of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Academic Medical Center, has announced, in the wake of World Diabetes Day, their commitment to lead diabetes care in 2009. The initiative will focus on prevention of diabetes and its complications.

In the UAE, it is estimated that 25% of the population live with diabetes, while a similar percent of the population is at risk of developing it.

The UAE ranks second highest worldwide for diabetes prevalence, followed by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait, according to the International Diabetes Federation (2007).

Doctors who treat diabetes and other hormone-related disorders can do much more to help patients manage these conditions over the long-term, according to HMSDC. Educating doctors, patients and the general public on diabetes makes it more likely that the general population will receive the necessary diagnostic tests, treatments and preventive care.

For these reasons the HMSDC and DHFMR are planning to expand their diabetes care services in 2009.

The initiative marks a major commitment by DHCC to provide comprehensive care for adults who have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, as well as a drive to improve diabetes awareness through the media. The initiative will also raise funds to establish a Diabetes Research Center and a Diabetes Prevention Center.

Other specialised services of the initiative will include “Train the Trainers” workshops to increase the number of diabetes educators; UAE national doctors and researchers will do fellowships in the field of diabetes mellitus at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA; and lectures in UAE primary schools will educate children about diabetes risk and lifestyle and eating habits.



Abu Dhabi to Host World Ophthalmology Congress

Abu Dhabi is to host the World Ophthalmology Congress (WOC) 2012, which is expected to attract in excess of 12,000 international delegates.

WOC is the world’s longest running and largest international medical meeting, established in 1857 with the Abu Dhabi event representing the 33rd congress of its type. Sponsored by the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO), the WOC 2012 is being hosted in Abu Dhabi by the Middle East African Council of Ophthalmology (MEACO).

The move is being seen as a major coup for the UAE capital and a huge boost to its credentials as a preferred destination for international medical meetings. WOC 2012 will be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) in February 2012.

This will mark the first time that WOC, a biennial event, will be held in the MENA region.



National Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign launched in Lebanon

In a unified effort to reach as many women as possible, the national breast cancer awareness campaign was launched for the 7th consecutive year in Lebanon.

The campaign, a collaboration between the Ministry of Public Health and Hoffmann-La Roche, aims to increase awareness of the importance of early breast cancer detection by offering women a discount on mammograms throughout Lebanon.

Mammography – essential in the early detection of breast cancer where chances of a cure are highest – was available across Lebanon from 1 October until 15 November at a small fraction of the price normally charged.

“If we look closely at the situation, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths amongst women in Lebanon, constituting 42 percent of all cancer cases,” said Dr Mohamad Jawad Khalifeh, Lebanese Minister of Public Health.

“The high number of breast cancer cases reported is attributed mainly to increases in awareness and screening programmes as well as the education and the availability of treatment innovations that, in turn, resulted in a significant drop in the deaths rates in the last few years.

The need to stress continued and targeted education for future generations of women is essential to saving both lives and long term treatment costs,” he added.



Qatar measles outbreak risk

According to a report on Gulf Times online a study has revealed that there is potential for outbreaks of measles in Qatar given the large number of unvaccinated children, especially expatriates, in the 1- 14 years age group.

As many as 82.9% of measles cases reported in 2007 to the National Health Authority's Department of Public Health had either not received the vaccine or did not know their vaccination status.

The study conducted by Dr Mohamed Ghaith al-Kuwari, Dr Zaher Nazzal, and Dr Abdulhameed al-Khenji from the Primary Health Care Department recommended that measles control and vaccination awareness should be continued and improved at all levels.

“Maintaining a high coverage of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine 2nd dose among the 1-14 years age group is critical to [the] control of measles in Qatar," the study suggests.

Qatar has committed to the WHO-Eastern Mediterranean Region initiative to eliminate measles virus transmission by 2010 through strengthening routine infant immunisation and surveillance and giving 2nd opportunity for measles immunisation.

“Qatar has achieved a significant reduction in the morbidity and mortality of measles since adopting the measles elimination programme in 1997 but has experienced recurrent, small scale outbreaks in 2007, driving the incidence significantly above the 100 cases per million,” the study points out.



Director appointed for Methodist Intl EMEA

Dr Sarper Tanli has been named executive director of Methodist International (MI) for Europe, Middle East and Africa. In this role, he is responsible for the organisational structure, business operations, financial performance and strategic planning for MI in these regions.

Dr Tanli will be headquartered in a Methodist International branch office in Dubai. The Methodist Hospital, located in Houston, Texas, is one of the leading hospitals in the United States and is known internationally for the range and quality of its medical care. MI, a subsidiary of The Methodist Hospital, facilitates and coordinates all international activities and initiatives.

MI serves patients, physicians and health care organisations around the world by facilitating the improvement of local care and the sharing of knowledge and experience. Prior to joining MI, Dr Tanli served as the regional director of Harvard Medical International for consulting services in the Middle East and North Africa region.

During this period he also worked as Director of Planning and Healthcare Informatics in the center for Healthcare Planning & Quality, the regulatory agency of Dubai Healthcare City and was instrumental in various projects and departments during the establishment of Dubai Healthcare City.

“Methodist has been in the international arena for years, but now we are taking a step forward,” Dr Tanli explained. “As a global healthcare company, we will take our experiences in patients care quality to other parts of the world.

The vision and mission are to duplicate the successes here overseas and share our knowledge. Keeping in mind the three important pillars of patient care, education and research, we will be considering hospital management, education and research opportunities in other parts of the world.” Recently, MI signed an agreement with Dubai-based Emaar Healthcare Group, the healthcare subsidiary of Emaar Properties.

Under this agreement, a strategic partnership was formed to promote best practice standards and develop and manage hospitals and clinics in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia. Beginning this year, MI will manage the launch and continuing operations of medical centres and clinics in Emaar’s communities throughout Dubai.

A native of Turkey, Dr Tanli completed his Masters degree in Healthcare Administration at Istanbul University and his PhD at Marmara University. Dr Tanli held adjunct professor and clinical instructor positions at the University of Houston School of Public Health, Baylor College of Medicine, Istanbul University Healthcare Management School and Marmara University Healthcare Management Graduate Program. Among holding several other positions, he is also the founder of the Turkish Healthcare Executives Network of ACHE (ACHETEN) in Istanbul.



Breastfeeding campaign unveiled in the UAE

The “Johnson’s Baby Breastfeeding Campaign” was launched jointly by the Ministry of Health (MOH), Johnson and Johnson Middle East, the Al Ain Baby Friendly Community Committee, the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD), and Dubai Health Authority (HHA) with the aim of improving infant survival rates and child health throughout the country.

During the campaign, efforts will be made to inform health workers and prospective mothers about breast milk as a vital source of nutrients for newborns, to promote breastfeeding and to increase the number of baby-friendly hospitals.

“Many women simply do not know that breast-fed babies have fewer illnesses because human milk transfers the mother's antibodies to disease to the infant. About 80% of the cells in breast milk are macrophages, or cells that kill bacteria, fungi and viruses. Awareness is the key factor in expanding the number of infants who are receiving breastfeeding and educating mothers is and always has been our main goal at Johnson’s Baby,” said Dr Nahed Sabry, Johnson’s Baby Spokesperson.

More than two decades of research has established that breast milk is perfectly suited to nourish infants and protect them from illness. Breast-fed infants have lower rates of hospital admissions, ear infections, diarrhea, rashes, allergies, and other medical problems than bottle-fed babies. Moreover a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that breastfed infants tested 5.2 IQ points higher than formula fed infants.

The primary benefit of breast milk is nutritional. Human milk contains at least 100 ingredients not found in formula. Nursing may have psychological benefits for the infant, creating an early attachment between mother and child, and studies have found that infants as young as one week prefer the smell of their own mother’s milk.



Swisslog opens office in Dubai

Swisslog, a leading manufacturer of Transport Solutions and Pharmacy Automation Systems for hospitals has expanded its global presence by setting up an office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

To better meet the fast-rising demand for its healthcare solutions in the Middle East, Swisslog moves closer to its growing client base. The Swisslog office is headed by Steve Leavengood, Managing Director, who has been serving Swisslog’s customers in this region for over a decade.

Swisslog has two major business categories for hospitals: Transport Solutions for moving items throughout the hospital facility and Pharmacy Automation Solutions that reduce medication errors. By offering this portfolio of solutions in the region, Swisslog is addressing the growing need for improved efficiency, safety, and patient care.



Dubai Bone and Joint moves to new premises

The new Dubai Bone and Joint (DBAJ) medical facility was officially opened at Dubai Healthcare City in late November by Qadi Al Murooshid, Director General, Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

Al Murooshid stressed the important role that the private healthcare sector will play in helping DHA provide comprehensive healthcare. Suzanne Al Houby, VP, DBAJ, said: “We aim to offer musculoskeletal patients in the Middle East superior treatments and surgical procedures following evidence-based medicine comparable to international healthcare standards.”

DBAJ offers services in paediatric and adult spinal conditions pelvic and acetabular fractures, reconstructive surgery and rheumatology. It also offers total joint arthroplasty, limb lengthening and limb deformity correction, infective non-union surgery as well as services for foot deformities and neuromuscular disorders among others.

Al Houby noted that DBAJ is collaborating on a research project with the Amsterdam Medical Center and the establishment of the first Dubai / Holland Biotechnology Research company to help generate new insights on local gene therapy of Rheumatoid Arthritis: Arthrogen.

● Meanwhile, Dr Zbiggy J. Brodzinsky, Consultant Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon at DBAJ, announced recently the formation of the Emirates Spine Society (ESS), the first such society in the UAE.

The aim of the society is to improve the quality of life for a large segment of the population living with back pain and chronic back deformities, as well as to reduce the burden of spine disorders on society.



New licensing for Dubai doctors

All health professionals working in Dubai will have to be relicensed as part of the overhaul of the regulatory system, reports Medical Times. The move is part of plans set out by the new regulatory agency, set up by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) in August.

The agency, which has yet to be named, is in charge of streamlining the licensing process, setting new quality standards, monitoring compliance, carrying out inspections and investigating complaints.

Details of the relicensing process have yet to be finalised, but will affect around 700 clinics, 6,000 doctors, all nurses and other health professionals. Only facilities run by the Ministry of Health will be exempt from the ruling, said Dr Essa Kazim, head of the DHA’s regulation team. Underperformers will not be shut down, or stopped from practising, but will receive a period of grace to meet the required standards of service provision or professional practice, Dr Kazim was reported as saying.

Names and scopes of practice for every licensed doctor will be published on the regulatory agency’s website. Quality ratings for every facility will be published too. Public safety will underpin every policy and standard, and patients will be encouraged to feed into the complaints system, so healthcare facilities can learn from their mistakes.



Plans for UAE hospital developments reviewed

Medical projects are being postponed, reduced in scale or are running over budget as the price of construction increases.

In a report in The National (9 November 2008) a spokesperson in the Ministry of Public Works asked the Ministry of Health to re-evaluate all planned healthcare and hospital projects in the northern Emirates, in the wake of the global financial crisis.

According to the newspaper, the Health Ministry plans to build 13 primary healthcare centres and increase the number of hospital beds in Ras al Khaimah. Al Qassimi Hospital in Sharjah is also planning to establish a heart centre.

Dr Abdullah al Nuaimi, the director general of public works, said construction costs had increased so much that the ministry could no longer afford to continue with plans as they were.

He was quoted as saying he had asked health officials to “reconsider downscaling or reducing some of their requirements… to look into what pieces could be saved and what pieces should be postponed for another phase”.



Oculoplastic society holds inaugural meeting in Dubai

A new society for regional professionals focusing on oculoplastic surgery (specialised plastic surgery around the eyelids and face) held its inaugural consultative meeting in Dubai at the end of October.

The first meeting of the Middle East African Oculoplastic Society (MEAOPS) was held under the auspices of the Middle East African Council of Opththalmology and was organised and hosted by Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai (MEHD).

The purpose of the inaugural consultative meeting in Dubai was to lay the foundations of MEAOPS while promoting Oculoplastics as a sub-specialty in the Middle East and North Africa and to advance the knowledge and education in the field of eyelid, facial, orbit and lachrymal surgery through research and training.

The inaugural meeting also included the first MEAOPS Gold Medal Lecture by Richard Collin from Moorfields Eye Hospital London, an eminent and globally recognised expert in the field of Oculoplastics.

“We hope that this will become an annual meeting, hosted by members around the region,” said Dr Andrea Sciscio, Consultant Ophthalmic and Oculoplastic Surgeon at Moorfields Hospital Dubai.

Participants at the inaugural meeting included professionals based in the Gulf region whose expertise lies in the areas of reconstructive Oculoplastics, as well as Aesthetic Facial Surgery, and included plastic surgeons, ENT surgeons, neurosurgeons, endocrinologists and eye surgeons who are actively involved in the clinical management of such patients.



Pampers-UNICEF campaign raises 5.1m vaccines in GCC

The Pampers-UNICEF campaign “1 Pack = 1 Vaccine” has raised over 5.1 million vaccines in the GCC during Shaban and Ramadan (August and September). The campaign had originally aimed to raise 4 million vaccines to help eliminate maternal and newborn tetanus in Sudan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

The campaign was launched at the beginning of Shaban (August) and saw the endorsement of Nashwa Al Ruwaini, a well-known media personality and celebrity in the Arab world. Taking on the success of the global campaign, which has raised over 50 million vaccines since 2006, the GCC campaign aimed to raise awareness of these fatal diseases and encourage the public to participate.

“When we began this campaign in the GCC, we had hoped that the public would recognise that newborn tetanus is responsible for the death of a baby every three minutes. At Pampers, we are committed to the health and well-being of every baby and the 1 Pack = 1 Tetanus Vaccine campaign has given us the chance to help and protect the lives of babies in the least developed countries of the world,” said Karim Kamel, Associate Marketing Director, Procter and Gamble, Babycare, Arabian Peninsula.

Every year, 500,000 cases of tetanus are registered worldwide. The disease claims the lives of approximately 140,000 young babies and 30,000 mothers every year, but the full extent of the death toll is uncertain as vast numbers of tetanus-related deaths go unreported in the developing world.



Delays in diagnosis result in disability for arthritis sufferers

UAE doctors say delays in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis can lead to deformities or worse. Health professionals are urging the UAE Ministry of Health to promote of rheumatoid arthritis awareness after local research found that 45% of arthritic patients presented with deformities and disabilities due to a delay in diagnosis and treatment.

The study was conducted by doctors from the Dubai Bone & Joint Centre and published in leading European health journals. Further research has found that 50% of patients in the UAE with rheumatoid arthritis are not taking the essential disease-modifying medication required to prevent joint damage, compared with only 10% in Western populations. Local health professionals say sufferers of the disease in the UAE are getting younger and rheumatoid arthritis is no longer a disease for the aged.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a systematic disease affecting the entire body. Common symptoms include pain and swelling in more than one joint, often in the fingers, wrists, elbows, toes, knees, shoulders and ankles.

Health experts believe a lack of general awareness on the community’s part, and a significant shortage of practising Rheumatologists in the region, are the main factors contributing to the UAE’s poor treatment record.



Saudi plans 7 new hospitals, 9 health centres

Saudi Arabia plans to build seven new hospitals and nine health centres in a bid to improve healthcare in the kingdom.

The announcement was made as Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz, Interior Minister, opened and laid the foundations of a number of projects at the Riyadh-based Security Forces Hospital recently.

Minister of Health Dr Hamad Bin Abdullah Al- Manea said seven hospitals, each with 120-beds, and nine health centres would be built in different parts of the kingdom, the official SPA news agency reported.



Gulf Medical University honours Dr K. R. Shetty

Leading neurologist and a renowned physician from Mangalore, Dr K. R. Shetty was honoured in the United Arab Emirates in recognition of his exceptional commitment, life-long contributions and outstanding achievements in medicine and healthcare.

Gulf Medical University celebrated the 10th Anniversary of Gulf Medical College and invited Dr K. R. Shetty as the chief guest of the gala function. Thumbay Moideen, Founder President of the University complimented Dr Shetty for being a great strength and support to the institution as an advisor over the past 10 years.

The special citation lauded the contributions of Dr Shetty and acknowledged the gigantic contributions made by him in the fields of medicine and healthcare. The Chairman of BA Group India Ahmed Hajee Mohiudeen, Thumbay Moideen, Provost of the university Professor Gita Ashok Raj, Akbar Moideen Thumbay and Akram Moideen Thumbay presented Dr Shetty with a special memento and the citation.



HMC installs latest Lasik equipment

Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Center (HMC) and Alphamed Group, the sole distributor of Carl Zeiss Meditec in the United Arab Emirates, has signed a collaborative agreement under which the centre will have one of the newest and most advanced types of Lasik technology worldwide.

Dr Sulaiman Al Habib, Chairman of Al Habib Medical Group, said: “As a world class Medical Center ranked amongst the top global medical institutions, we are proud to adopt the new generation technology that brings Lasik Surgery to the doorstep of a large segment of people.

The system is user-friendly and precise, clinical results are outstanding and the procedure is comfortable.

The new system incorporates patented technologies and is the first product of its kind in the healthcare market.” Alphamed Group played a significant role in installing and commissioning the system, as well as providing training for the doctors who will be using this new technology.

Professor Sulaiman Al Majed, Vice President of Medical Affairs for the group, said: “As a reputed Medical Center, we are committed to utilising processes, programmes and technologies that bring measurable improvement to the healthcare industry in the region.

The equipment brings a new set of patients into the Lasik ambit, especially those who were earlier declared ineligible for this type of surgery, such as those with thin corneas, as the new machine offers a high degree of accuracy and precision.”



Perot Systems wins Jordan health IT pilot project

Perot Systems – a leading healthcare technology solutions provider – has been contracted to manage the pilot deployment of VistA – an open source clinical and healthcare information management system – at two hospitals and a clinic in Amman, Jordan.

Jordan is recognised as providing one of the highest standards of healthcare in the region. It also has a rapidly growing IT sector.

King Abdullah II’s vision is to continue to build on these successes by establishing an effective, integrated national healthcare infrastructure using a single software platform. This project goes hand in hand with building an educational program around VistA’s technical and clinical processes with the goal of allowing Jordan to become self-sustainable in managing their health management information system and enabling them to take this offering to their neighbours in the region.

“The VistA Electronic Health Record, which for years has been used extensively by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. This pilot project with the Kingdom of Jordan should enable the efficiency of the system to be maximized as well as helping to deliver improved clinical outcomes for the citizens of Jordan.

We are very excited to be involved in this ground-breaking project with the Jordanians,” said Dr Kevin Fickenscher, Executive Vice President & Managing Director for Perot Systems’ International Healthcare.    

                                                                                                                                                               Copyright © 2009 MiddleEastHealthMag.com. All Rights Reserved.