Global health

The annual World Health Assembly was held in Geneva in May. This important meeting of all the WHO regions of the world passed a range of resolutions that are set to impact us all – on issues such as counterfeit drugs, the health-related Millennium Development Goals and a code of practice for the international recruitment of health personnel, to name a few. We report on the key resolutions adopted at the meeting (see page 24).

Importantly for this region, the World Assembly adopted a resolution calling on Israel to end their siege of the Gaza Strip to let in urgently needed drugs and medical equipment. On page 28 there’s an excellent summary of several reports about the health conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that were presented to the Assembly. Since the writing of that article there have been a number of developments regarding the Israeli siege of Gaza, particularly the Israel military attack, and resulting loss of many lives, on an aid flotilla attempting to dock in Gaza. This in turn prompted Egypt to open its border with Gaza, allowing thousands of Gaza citizens to seek urgently required medical treatment in Egypt (news report on page 8).

The prevalence of autism is on the increase all around the world. However, with fast improving technology for genetic testing, a range of tests have been developed to help diagnose autism. Sara Hamida Javaid interviewed experts in the field to find out whether these tests are effective and to what degree they can be relied upon for an accurate diagnosis (see page 32).

Later in this issue we speak to Philips to find out more about their new IntelliVue clinical information software suite, a new software platform that has enormous potential to significantly improve clinical decision- making in the hospital (page 46). Also under the topic of healthcare IT we talked to another industry giant, Siemens, about their new Soarian Medsuite – an industry-leading enterprise-wide hospital information system (see page 50).

Jordan has for many years been at the forefront of medicine in the Middle East. As if to confirm this prestigious position, the Jordan Hospital in Amman has been selected as a base to conduct a clinical trial for a ground-breaking heart stem-cell product with the potential to repair damaged heart tissue. Read more about this fascinating development on page 42.

And as usual there is a lot more in this issue of Middle East Health which we trust you will find interesting and relevant.

Enjoy the summer – and good health.

Brian Wilkie

(Jul-Aug 2010)



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