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Although accurate figures are not readily available, mental disability in the Middle East is believed to be higher than the world average of 2.5-3% of the population, because of consanguineous marriages. While there is a concerted move in Europe and the US to try and integrate mentally disabled children into society, this is generally not the case in the Middle East. Middle East Health explores this contentious, and serious, issue on page 28.

For decades, the World Health Organisation has been doing excellent work in guiding governments and providing a knowledge base to improve public health around the world. The global body is now playing an increasingly important role in an increasingly interconnected world. For example, it has been the driving force behind the anti-tobacco treaty and campaigns, resulting in smoking bans in public places in much of the world as well as concerted efforts to help smokers quit the habit. See World No Tobacco Day on page 30. The WHO has also played a crucial role in co-ordinating global moves to curtail the spread of viral epidemics around the globe, such as the swine flu near-disaster last year which was only averted through fast and concerted action. Members of the Organisation met in Geneva in May for the annual World Health Assembly to discuss the right way forward on a wide range of global public health issues, and adopted no fewer than 28 resolutions. Our report on the meeting is on page 22.

The MEH team recently visited Jordan, following a World Bank report which ranks the country as number one in the region and number five in the world for medical tourism. They spoke to several leading hospitals in Amman to uncover their strategies and secrets. Astonishingly, they all seem to be bursting at the seams and have expansion programmes underway in an effort to cope with the growing demand. Learn more in the exclusive Jordan report on page 38. And as usual you’ll find inside a wide range of informative news about the latest medical research and other points of interest, locally and globally, to keep you talking and thinking over the summer.

But - do you want to keep receiving Middle East Health?

May I remind you that we are in the process of refreshing our database to ensure that the right people keep receiving the magazine free-of-charge. As requested in the last issue, please go to our website and fill in your details to ensure that you do not get deleted from the mailing list. If we do not hear from you we will presume that you have moved on. It only takes a minute – just click here on: Do it now, before you forget!

You can also fill out the form inserted into this magazine and fax it back to us. I’ll be spending part of the summer in spas, trying to lose some weight, de-stress and regain healthy habits. What about you? I’ll be reporting back in our regular spa feature in the September issue. Until then, I wish you good health – and a great summer.

Brian Wilkie

(Jul-Aug 2011)



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