Doctors in Oman form new association

Doctors in Oman have formed their own society in a bid to upgrade the medical profession.

The Omani Medical Association will also attempt to protect the ethics of the vocation and spread health awareness throughout the country.

Many in the medical profession felt this type of organisation was long overdue. Doctors throughout the country previously had no umbrella under which they could unite.

The association will provide its members with legal and financial assistance. Help will also be provided to nationals wishing to work abroad to improve their professional skills.

It is also likely to encourage more nationals to take up the profession and will become a good source for Omani doctors wishing to find jobs in the private sector. At the moment, it is thought only about half a dozen of the 700 or so doctors in the sector are nationals.

More and more Omanis are working in the public sector, however, with up to 50 nationals graduating from the Medical College at Sultan Qaboos University each year.

Bad diets blamed for poor health of expatriates

Doctors in Saudi Arabia are becoming more and more concerned by the poor health of expatriates living in the Kingdom.

And they are blaming poor diets and lack of exercise for the high percentage of deaths.

The Filipino population in Saudi Arabia has come under particular scrutiny, as many as up to 200 Filipinos die of a heart attack every year in the Kingdom.

Now medical profes-sionals are trying to warn expatriates of the dangers of bad-eating habits and the
heavy intake of high choles-terol foods.

Nutritionists claim many expatriates over-indulge when living away from their native country. They tend to increase their consumption of junk food, which might be more readily available than it is back home.

Many companies only provide food allowances for their expatriate employees, rather than giving them
healthy meals.

Nutritionists would like to see more firms, who employ a large number of expatri-ates, employing their own nutritional and medical experts. Calls have also been made for an educational campaign to inform expatri-ates of the importance of eating healthy food while they are working in Saudi Arabia.

Recent studies have revealed that about 10 per cent of the Saudi popula-tion, including nationals, have higher than normal blood pressure.

Expats in Bahrain to pay for health insurance

Expatriates in Bahrain and even nationals could soon have to pay health insurance charges.

Rising medical costs are being blamed for the change of policy, which has just been announced in the island state.

Health insurance will first become compul-sory for all expatriates living in Bahrain, but this could later extend to Bahrainis, who make up about 60 per cent of the population.

The premium will be set by insurance companies, but is expected to be about 100 dinars ($265) a year for each resident. The charges will have to be met by employers and sponsors of expatriates, but premiums will be subsidised by about 30 per cent for the first few years of the scheme. Major treatment,
such as organ transplantation, heart surgery and cancer services, will not be covered by the insurance. The basic package would, however, include emergency and non-emergency out-patient treatment.

- Public clinics in the UAE have reported a drop in the number of expatriates seeking treatment since the introduction of health fees.

The fees were introduced at the beginning of May. Some hospitals initially reported a 75 per cent reduction in the number of expatri-ates seeking treatment, though this was blamed on a panic reaction and the numbers have increased steadily since.

Medical centre is all set for accreditation

The Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre is all set to become the first UAE health institute to meet Canadian health standards.

The centre has agreed to a timetable to achieve the prestigious accreditation, which so many health organ-isations strive for.

Now the Canadian Council on Health Services Accred-itation (CCHSA) will make an initial department assess-ment as a preliminary to a more extensive accreditation survey next year.

The standards used to assess the centre will be identical to those used to assess similar hospitals in

The CCHSA is a non-profit, non-government institution with more than 40 years’ experience in helping health care organisations in Canada examine and improve the quality of their care and services.

Bahrain to host international conference on diabetes

Bahrain will be the venue for an international conference to focus on diabetes and the preventative measures that should be taken to prevent the spread of the condition.

The prestigious event, scheduled for 2003, will act as a forum for discussion for diabetes societies and experts from all over the world.

Lt General Dr Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, President of the Bahrain Diabetes Society, welcomed the news of the 2003 conference.

He said that he was certain Bahrain would have the capability, infrastructure and expertise needed to hold the prestigious meeting, which is sure to attract a large number of medical experts in that particular field.

He went on to say that over the next two years much investment in manpower, preparation and planning would be necessary to ensure a successful conference.

Immunisation programmes are a success in the UAE

Immunisation programmes throughout the UAE have been highly effective over the last two decades.

Cases of measles, polio and meningitis, for which vaccines are now available, have dropped sharply, it was announced at the 18th Inter-country Meeting of National Managers of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation. There were just 69 cases of measles in the Emirates in 2000, compared to almost 3,000 in 1981.

The number of reported paralytic polio cases dropped significantly within a few years of immunisation
programmes being introduced. In 1982, there were 58 cases, but just nine some six years later.

In 1994, the number of cases of viral hepatitis B was 1,712, which dropped to 1,028 in 2000, while the
number of reported haemophilus influenza B cases dropped to just five last year, compared to 20 in 1998.

New centre is all set to become a top location for cancer studies

A newly-opened tumour centre in Jeddah is already building a reputation as a top location for the study of cancer.

The Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman Bin Faisal Al Saud Tumour Centre (PNAFATC), at the King Khaled National Guard Hospital, was built to offer more than just treatment to sufferers of the disease.

The aim was also to turn it into a place of study and research. Those at the centre are working closely with similar academic centres throughout the world, exchanging information and collaborating on worldwide projects.

PNAFATC has already sent 15 doctors to the US and Canada for intensive specialised training.

The centre, the first tumour centre in the Western Region of Saudi Arabia, where some 4,500 people are diagnosed with tumours every year, also boasts a library of the latest research in the field of cancer treatment. There are also classrooms and meeting halls for lectures and conferences.

Though only opened in the spring, the centre has already published an educational medical booklet to tell people everything they need to know about cancerous tumours and how they can be avoided.

The region has more than a third of the tumour cases reported in the Kingdom. Special emphasis has been
placed on treating children with cancer, as six of the 20 out-patient clinics are devoted to this field.

Quarter of new-borns have genetic disorders

About a quarter of new-born children in the eastern and southern provinces of Saudi Arabia have genetic disorders inherited from their parents.

A study found that between 20 and 30 per cent of babies had some genetic disorder transmitted from either their mother or father. The findings were announced at the opening of a conference in Jeddah titled “Medical Check-ups Before Marriage”.

The three-day conference, held at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital, examined the consequences of
marriages between people with genetic problems. It also encouraged couples to have a medical examination before getting wed.

Speakers from all over the world spoke on various subjects, ranging from vene-real diseases and marriage, to the social and psychological impacts of medical check-ups before marriage.

UAE has one of the worst records for obesity

Recent studies have shown more than 50 per cent of the population of the United Arab Emirates suffer from obesity.

That is one of the worst records for obesity in the world.

The shock findings from Hoffmann La Roche were announced during a conference titled Obesity and its Risks, which was organised by the Ministry of Health.

Cases of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and joint problems - ailments often linked with obesity - were also high, the studies revealed.

New pharmaceutical firm is set up in Oman

The first pharmaceutical company in Oman is all set to begin commercial production.

National Pharmaceutical Industries (NPI) will initially produce 16 common and non-patented drugs.

It hopes to begin exports to GCC and some African countries within a year.

NPI, which is based in Rusayl, near Muscat, has also been in talks with a number of major worldwide pharma-ceutical companies over manufacturing the latest controlled drug delivery systems.

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