Philips strikes major installation deal with Jordan’s Farah Medical Complex

Royal Philips Electronics has struck an agreement with the Farah Medical Complex in Jordan that will see the development of a new hospital which has patient experience firmly at the centre of its ethos. Through this partnership, Philips will provide a customised package of 15 advanced imaging solution systems, healthcare informatics and services, in addition to a suite of 20 Ambient Experience rooms, making this the largest installation of this kind to date in any hospital worldwide.

Philips Ambient Experience is based on a deep understanding of all emotional and physical aspects of patient care. It creates a relaxing environment for patients undergoing an imaging procedure by light, image and sound. It has been shown to decrease the duration of the procedure, whilst helping caregivers to work more efficiently. The deal will also allow Philips researchers to further study the positive impacts of ambient lighting on patients and clinicians.

“We are delighted to be working with Philips to fulfil our vision of creating a state-of-the-art hospital which not only offers access to advanced technologies, but is also designed to provide an environment uniquely conducive to patients’ health and well-being,” said Dr Zaid Kilani, founder and director of Farah Medical Complex. “We are confident that with the customised offering developed by Philips, we will be shaping the future of patient care in the Middle East.”

The deal includes the first sale in the Middle East region of several of Philips’ advanced imaging systems, including MR HIFU for the treatment of uterine fibroids, offering patients an outpatient procedure with faster recovery and lower complication rates than surgical removal. Also new to the region will be the latest Philips X-ray technology.

Saudi king inaugurates new hospitals

The Saudi Gazette reported on 20 October last year that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia inaugurated 420 health projects and laid the foundation stones for 127 healthcare projects across the kingdom valued at more than SR12 billion (about US$3.2 billion).

The projects include the King Faisal Hospital in Taif, a 500-bed Maternity and Children’s Hospital in Makkah, a 500-bed Maternity and Children’s Hospital in Dammam, the 200-bed Southern Riyadh Hospital, the 200-bed Al-Quway’iah Hospital in Riyadh, the 100-bed Al-Badayeh Hospital in Al-Qassim and the 100-bed Medical Tower inside Jazan General Hospital, among others.

Dr Abdullah Al-Rabeah, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Health, said that this inauguration has brought the number of hospitals and primary healthcare units completed over the last three years to 54 and 645 respectively.

He said that more than 29 hospitals and health institutes and 91 health centres were part of the projects inaugurated by the king. Among the projects whose foundation stones were laid by the king were two medical cities in the north and south of the kingdom and a specialist hospital, seven general hospitals, two medical towers and 111 primary healthcare centres, the minister said.

The ministry is planning to build a further 122 hospitals and medical towers, as well as 305 primary healthcare centres over the next seven years in order to meet the needs of citizens, Al-Rabeah was quoted as saying.

In November the newspaper reported the king had allocated land for the construction of a mental hospital, a general hospital and a centre for the treatment of drug addiction near Taif University, and a children’s hospital next to King Faisal Hospital in Taif.

He also allocated land for a 400-bed maternity and children’s hospital bordering the North Jeddah Hospital.

Qatar’s Sidra in strategic partnership with Excellence in Paediatrics Institute

A new strategic cooperation was announced early December between the Excellence in Paediatrics Institute (EiP), an international paediatric association based in Geneva, and the Sidra Medical and Research Center, a new state-of-theart facility in Qatar funded by a $7.9 billion endowment from the Qatar Foundation.

Commenting on the announcement, made at the EiP’s annual conference Chairman of EiP, Professor of Paediatrics Dimitri Christakis, said: “This cooperation will strengthen EiP’s ability to deliver advanced Paediatric education where it is needed most, advancing global healthcare for children, especially in emerging markets.”

World Health Organisation data shows that children are five-times more likely to reach their fifth birthday if they live in a country with sufficient numbers of qualified paediatricians, doctors, midwives and nurses.

EiP brings together top academics, scientists and clinicians from services and centres of excellence across the globe and EiP’s members provide global paediatric education to over 60,000 providers and campaign for healthcare improvements based on the latest scientific research.

The Institute’s 5th global conference will be held in Doha, Qatar, from the 4-7 December 2013. The Sidra Medical and Research Center will be playing host to over 3,000 healthcare professionals from 100 countries.

Currently under construction on the Qatar Foundation’s 2,500-acre Education City campus in Doha, Sidra’s focus will be the health and wellbeing of women and children. Sidra is actively recruiting up to 3,000 clinical and research staff.

Dr Edward Ogata, Chief Medical Officer at Sidra, says: “EiP is an important forum for those at the frontline of delivering paediatric healthcare, bringing clinicians together with scientists and academics to identify innovations and insights that have the potential to transform care for children all around the world. We are looking forward to working with the Institute and sharing our vision for Sidra with visitors to Qatar.”

Sidra’s Communications Project Director Khalid Al Mohannadi said: “Today is an important day for Sidra and for Qatar, and for children everywhere in the world. We are delighted to partner with the Excellence in Paediatrics Institute, which shares our vision of better care for children through innovation, training, education and partnership. Through this cooperation, we can contribute to global advances in paediatric care.”

Yellow fever breaks out in Sudan

As of 4 December, the WHO reported a total of 732 suspected cases of yellow fever, including 165 deaths in Sudan’s Darfur region.

At the time of reporting, Sudan’s Federal Ministry of Health was organising an emergency mass vaccination campaign against yellow fever. The first phase of the campaign began on 21 November 2012, to cover 2.2 million people, and the second phase of the campaign was planned for December, to cover an additional 1.2 million at risk.

The vaccination campaign was supported by the International Coordinating Group on Yellow Fever Vaccine Provision (YF-ICG), GAVI Alliance, ECHO (European Community Humanitarian Office), Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), Sudan Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF), and nongovernmental organisations working where the campaign is being carried out, according to the WHO.

The International Coordinating Group on Yellow Fever Vaccine Provision (YFICG) is a partnership that manages the stockpile of yellow fever vaccines for emergency response on the basis of a rotation fund. It is represented by UNICEF, Médecins Sans Frontières, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and WHO, which also serves as the Secretariat. The stockpile was created by GAVI Alliance.

A comprehensive assessment of the outbreak is on-going, to obtain additional epidemiological, laboratory and entomological information to understand the evolution of the outbreak and the risk of the epidemic.

Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The “yellow” in the name refers to the jaundice that affects some patients.

The WHO says up to 50% of severely affected persons without treatment will die from the disease and states that there are an estimated 200,000 cases of yellow fever, causing 30,000 deaths, worldwide each year.

In November an international expert in infectious diseases was quoted as saying Sudan’s yellow fever outbreak should be seen as an international emergency, and asserted that typical efforts to battle the mosquitoes will be difficult in Darfur because of issues surrounding the scarce water supply.

In December WHO issued a statement saying the organisation had activated the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) and is deploying additional experts including an entomologist, virologists and an epidemiologist to support the on-going response in Sudan.

Abu Dhabi launches cancer e-notification

As of October of last year, all healthcare facilities licensed by the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (HAAD), including hospitals, clinics, polyclinics, diagnostic centres, and radiological centres, are mandated to report new cancer cases through a cancer e-notification system on the HAAD website. In addition, healthcare facilities are mandated to report on cancer screening visits and outcomes to the cancer e-notification. This includes cancer screenings for breast, colorectal and cervical cancers.

Dr Omniyat Al Hajri, director of Public Health and Policy Division at HAAD, said: “Key policies on cancer need to be based on reliable data. HAAD has recently created the cancer surveillance e-notification to establish the Abu Dhabi Cancer Registry (ADCR). It was officially announced to all healthcare providers, facilities and professionals on September 10, 2012. The aim of the cancer registry is to identify risk factors for cancer; and to plan, monitor and evaluate effective health interventions to control and prevent cancer.”

Dr Jalaa Assad Taher, section head for Cancer Control and Prevention, said: “Cancer is a priority and there is a comprehensive plan to control and prevent it, including enhancing reporting of cancer cases and monitoring of quality screening services through establishing the cancer enotification system.”

Moorfields appoints new medical director, oculoplastic surgeon

Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai has announced the appointment of Dr Clare Roberts MA (Cantab), BM BCh (Oxon), FRCOphth as the hospital’s new medical director. Dr Roberts, who trained at Moorfields London, joined the Dubai hospital in 2010 as consultant paediatric ophthalmologist and strabismus surgeon. She assumes the role of medical director following the return to Moorfields London of Dr Chris Canning, who held the positions of CEO and medical director from the establishment of the hospital in 2006. Many of the hospital’s consultants are Moorfields London trained and all are based permanently in the UAE.

Dr Roberts studied medicine both at Cambridge and Oxford University and trained in the UK acquiring the Fellowship of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, and completing her subspecialty training in paediatric ophthalmology and strabismus at Moorfields London. Prior to joining Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, Dr Roberts was a consultant at Imperial College NHS Trust in London, where she managed a large paediatric ophthalmology service including screening and treatment for retinopathy of prematurity. Dr Roberts has a research interest in amblyopia (lazy eye) and retinopathy of prematurity and has published work in paediatric ophthalmology and strabismus.

The hospital also appointed Dr Qasiem Nasser as a Specialist Ophthalmologist and Oculoplastic Surgeon. Dr Nasser's specialist area of expertise is Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, including surgery on the eyelids, the orbit, and the tear drainage system.

Dr Qasiem Nasser is a Jordanian national and studied medicine at The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, following which he completed his Residency in Ophthalmology at The Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital in Dublin. He then moved to the United States where he completed a 2 year Ophthalmic Plastic and Orbital Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and Texas Oculoplastic Consultants in Austin.

Pakistan gets family planning support

Arif Naqvi, chairman of the Aman Foundation, and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have signed a five-year framework agreement on family planning and health in Pakistan. They will also explore further areas for collaboration to advance global health and development.

The maternal mortality rate in Pakistan is currently 276 per 100,000, and infant mortality at birth stands at 62 deaths per 1000 live births. In light of these worrying figures, both Aman and the Gates Foundation have pledged to invest US$5 million each to address the gaps in reproductive health and family planning services in Pakistan. Gates said: “This is a significant co-investment partnership for our foundation which leverages Aman’s on-theground knowledge in family planning and maternal and child health in Pakistan. It is also an example of the kind of smart partnerships that hold huge promise for the future. Investments in family planning have a transformational effect on the health and wealth of nations.”

Naqvi said: “We will benefit from mutual learning, co-funding opportunities and the expertise of both an international and local civil society. The Aman Foundation’s innovative work in the health and education sectors will improve maternal and child health and family planning outcomes among women in underserved populations and specifically communities of Karachi.”

Recently, Aman Foundation participated in the London Family Planning Summit which was organised by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the British Government and UNFPA. The aim of the summit was to “mobilise global policy, financing, commodity and service delivery commitments to support the rights of an additional 120 million women and girls in the world’s poorest countries to use contraceptive information, services and supplies, without coercion or discrimination, by 2020.” At the summit, Aman Foundation was recognised as the only private organisation from the developing world to have committed substantial funds towards this cause.

7% of Cairo addicted to drugs

The number of Egyptians aged 16 and above who are addicted to drugs has risen to 30%, according to a report written by the Health Committee of the Shura Council (consultative Upper Parliamentary House). Researchers found that during the past five years, the illegal use of drugs has shot up in Egyptians aged above 16 by 6.4% to reach 30% of 16-yearolds and over. In what has been described as a catastrophic incidence, the report underlined the fact that the incidence of addiction in Cairo has jumped to 7% of the capital’s population.

In monetary terms addiction costs Egypt some 13 billion Egyptian pounds (about US$2.1 billion) per annum. The security breakdown in the wake of the popular uprising in January has been blamed for failing to prevent a thriving drug trafficking industry, especially across Egypt’s borders.

Korea to treat UAE soldiers

Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) has agreed to a healthcare collaboration deal with the UAE Armed Forces. Following the agreement, the UAE military is expected to refer around 10% of their patients to four Korean medical institutions.

KHIDI has also been working to formalise cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) and Saudi Arabia’s government organisations. It plans to expand cooperation with other countries in the region.

WHO EMRO tackles diabetes

The WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean has started working with countries in the region to strengthen laws limiting the marketing of unhealthy food items, regulating the nutritional value of items presented in school canteens and school vending outlets, and protecting the environment in which children can safely enjoy physical activity and sports.

Cinfa pharmaceuticals to set up operations in UAE

Cinfa, one of Europe’s largest drug manufacturers, plans to enter the Middle East market via the UAE.

Cinfa, Spain’s leading pharmaceutical company in Spain, has a comprehensive portfolio of products including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, dermocosmetics, and nutraceutical solutions.

With more than 40 years of experience as a developer, manufacturer, and marketer of drugs, Cinfa is present in more than 52 countries and has a drug portfolio composed of 102 active ingredients treating more than 30 major diseases and conditions.

“The UAE has always been at the forefront of regional medicine and continues to this day to push forward on all fronts to bring the very best treatment options to its residents,” said Dr Wael Al Mahmeed, current board member of Emirates Cardiac Society. “The introduction of new market entrants in the pharmaceutical sector, such as Cinfa, is very positively received by the medical community because it expands patient and physician choice in medicine, and this helps competition and innovation.”

GE Healthcare appoints new President & CEO for Middle East and Pakistan

GE Healthcare has appointed Maher Abouzeid as its President & Chief Executive Officer for Middle East and Pakistan. Based in Dubai, Abouzeid will be responsible for driving the continued growth and expansion of GE Healthcare’s brand in the region. He will also focus on strengthening customer relationships and partnerships across all the countries in the Middle East and Pakistan.

Karim Karti, President & CEO for GE Healthcare’s 84-country Eastern and Africa Growth Markets region covering Russia & CIS, Turkey & Central Asia, Middle East and Africa, said: “The Middle East and Pakistan are amongst the fastest growing emerging-markets in the world. Abouzeid’s extensive experience in the region and in healthcare will be instrumental in his new role. He will specifically concentrate on developing our presence and footprint across 12 countries to help our customers and partners grow their capabilities. We remain fully committed to working closely with our partners towards addressing the most critical healthcare challenges in the region.”

Abouzeid added: “The growing incidence of lifestyle diseases and rising costs are increasingly burdening healthcare systems across the region. Through GE Healthcare’s focus on early health, we are partnering with the region’s healthcare ministries and leading hospital groups to bring more affordable, high quality healthcare to more people, in line with our global healthymagination initiative. We will continue to focus on building sustainable partnerships and providing our advanced technologies, capabilities and solutions including training, skills development and knowledge transfer.”

Qatar’s PHCC holds workshop on new 48-hour cancer referral initiative

Qatar’s Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), in cooperation with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), held the first training workshop on rapid and definitive diagnosis for assumed cancer cases in Qatar. This is one of the national cancer strategy recommendations shared between PHCC and HMC. The practice calls for a speedy 48 hour-window referral of suspected cases from the Primary Health Care Centers to specialist clinics via standardised process. Early diagnosis allows for better treatment.

The training workshop aimed at Family Physicians and General Practitioners gave a full account of the newly developed 48 hours referral process. This new process includes urgent referral forms that will be introduced by the end of 2012 with a goal to increase the number of referrals of suspected cases from the Primary Health Care setting to the Referral Management Office in Hamad Medical City.

Commenting on the initiative, Dr Maryam Ali Abdulmalik, the Managing Director of PHCC, said: “PHCC is strongly supporting the initiative to tackle a rapid and definitive diagnosis for suspected cancer cases in Qatar. With cancer being the third leading cause of death in Qatar, PHCC is committed to work closely with our colleagues within the health care community to support the role that our specialists have in tackling and dealing with it, and PHCC is committed to provide full support to the Qatar National Cancer Strategy 2011- 2016.”


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