Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and New York University Abu Dhabi sign collaboration MoU


Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on research, knowledge-sharing, and education and training programs.

The partnership seeks to leverage the organizations� respective expertise in medicine and higher education to improve health and foster knowledge transfer within the UAE community. Potential areas of focus include:

  • Research - partnering on clinical research and innovation, and, through NYUAD's Public Health Research Center and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi's clinical investigation capability, research on key regional health issues
  • Knowledge-sharing events - collaborating on conferences and workshop series
  • Training and education - exploring undergraduate, continuing education and professional development opportunities

Dr Fabio Piano, NYUAD Provost, said: "Our partnership with Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is rooted in our respective shared contributions to Abu Dhabi and beyond in education, research and healthcare. This partnership will open up new pathways of discovery for our faculty and students as the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi look to deliver research and education that not only pushes the boundaries of discovery but also deepens our connections and understanding of medicine on a local and global level. By combining our collective expertise, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and NYUAD will engage in education, research and knowledge sharing that will have the potential to improve lives across the globe."

Dr E. Murat Tuzcu, Chief Academic Officer and Chief, Cardiovascular Medicine, Heart & Vascular Institute, at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, is responsible for implementing an innovative, creative and state-of-the art medical research function and education strategic plan at the medical campus. Commenting on the MoU, he said: "Healthcare is a fast-growing and evolving industry, so knowledge sharing and transfer is absolutely essential to ensure sustainability. NYUAD shares our commitment to innovation, research, and developing the next generation of leaders, making them an ideal partner to help deliver tangible programs which can positively impact our community in the years to come."


Call to protect health workers in conflict zones

In a statement issued ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit that took place in Istanbul at the end of May, Dr Ala Alwan, the Regional Director WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region, condemns attacks on healthcare workers and facilities - and calls for a strengthened commitment byworld leaders to protect healthcare in conflict zones.

Dr Alwan says: Escalating conflict and humanitarian crises continue to place health care workers at great risk. Attacks against health workers and facilities in Afghanistan increased by 50% in 2015. Syria is now the deadliest place in the world for health workers, reducing the availability of an already limited number of health care workers.

Direct violence isn't the only way health care is under assault. Health workers, facilities and patients all suffer when medication and treatment is withheld from besieged populations, or water and power supplies are deliberately interrupted.

Clear laws and conventions prohibit attacks on health workers and facilities, yet in many places, they are being ignored. Despite repeated calls for the respect and protection of health care by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, these attacks continue, depriving people of their fundamental right to health, severely disrupting humanitarian operations and undermining health systems and long-term health development goals. We must not accept this as the status quo.

Even in countries where the number of attacks seems to be decreasing, humanitarian operations may not be any safer. In fact, the reason for the apparent decline may be a decreasing population of health workers who can be targeted, as doctors, nurses, and technicians flee; health facilities shut down; and relief operations by aid agencies are shuttered due to insecurity.

Attacks on health care - whether they are targeted or as a result of large-scale violence - have an impact that goes beyond the risks to health workers' lives. They affect not only victims and their families but also the millions of people who could not be reached: children who did not get vaccinated and patients whose injuries were left untreated. Thousands of people die every year because the environment has become too dangerous for health care to be delivered. These consequences should not be accepted as the unavoidable cost of operating in conflict settings. Health staff working in already challenging conditions and with limited resources should not have to live in fear of constant attack, and the populations they reach cannot afford to be deprived of what little they have in terms of health services. In the fragile states that are experiencing severe instability, we cannot allow the thread connecting health workers and people in need to be severed.

A landmark resolution on health care in armed conflict unanimously adopted by the United Nations Security Council on May 3 serves as an important step in highlighting the urgency of this issue. We also need a system for collecting data on attacks on health workers, health facilities, transport and patients in complex emergencies. This can help us identify patterns and find concrete ways to avoid attacks or mitigate disruptions to health care delivery.

As the international community continues to advocate for the protection of health care workers, governments have an equally important role to play in ensuring safe and secure access to health services for all and strengthening accountability for attacks. Civil society, the media and international institutions also have a responsibility to ensure that violations are brought to light. Unless immediate action is taken by all to protect health workers and health facilities, these attacks will continue, threatening to become the norm and sealing the fate of millions of people.

"Respect the rules of war" is one of the five core responsibilities for the global community that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon outlines in his Agenda for Humanity � a report to guide discussions and decisions at the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul (that took place 23-24 May).

At the summit, governments, people affected by crisis, Non-Governmental Organizations, the private sector, United Nations agencies and other partners came together and endorsed the Agenda for Humanity and its five Core Responsibilities to improve aid delivery, support refugees, uphold international law, increase financing and prevent the crises generating the largest migration flows in 70 years.

Free, accredited, online CME programme launched in Middle East

mdBriefCase Africa and Middle East has launched a free, accredited, online continuing medical education (CME) programme based on the needs of health care practitioners in Africa and the Middle East. The programme is adapted from its successful Canadian model, with input from local healthcare leaders.

"Building on our positive experiences in Canada and Australia, we wanted to expand our operations to Africa and the Middle East," says Greg Cook, Founder and CEO of mdBriefCase. "While online CME is in the early stages of development in these regions, the opportunities to make concrete and impactful contributions to clinician education is significant and wide-reaching."

All mdBriefCase programs are based on established clinical best practices, then tailored to address local demographics and concerns. "Our interactive online CME is change-behaviour focused," explains Jason Muloongo, Operations Director for mdBriefCase Africa and Middle East. "Our goal is to uplift the standard of education for healthcare practitioners throughout these regions, ultimately allowing our practitioners to deliver the best possible healthcare to patients."

Firm launches HEPA filter testing service - a first in the Middle East

In a bid to address a crucial market gap, AESG has launched a new HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter testing and certification service. Although vital to facilities such as operating theatres and pharmaceutical labs, this is the first time that such a service is being offered in the Middle East.

AESG - Alabbar Energy and Sustainability Group, a UAE-based consultancy firm - has made significant investments in the skills and technologies required to deliver the service in accordance with BN EN 14664-1, the most stringent international cleanroom certification standard.

The consultancy firm believes the healthcare sector will benefit substantially from this service as Gary Williams, Director of Commissioning at AESG, explains: "The industry norm regarding HEPA filters is an install-and-forget approach. Unfortunately, in most installations, due to factors such as rough handling, improper installation and poor maintenance, the likelihood of suboptimal performance is extremely high. In highly sterile environments such as operating theatres and incubators, even slight contamination can have a negative impact on patient health and so ensuring the effectiveness of HEPA filters is essential."

AESG has worked closely with local regulatory authorities to ensure that its service can enable clients to achieve the highest level of standards compliance. The DOP (Dispersed Oil Particulate) testing equipment being utilized by the firm exceeds the British, American, European and Australian requirements for filter testing with aerosols. According to Williams, his team can test for a pass rate of less than 0.01% of the most penetrative particles, and accurately uncover not only the inefficiencies but also the 'difficult to pinpoint' leaks.

Although it is standard practice to verify the manufacturer's stated HEPA filter efficiency of 99.997% in situ, the actual performance of these systems is impacted by a number of factors. Therefore, to ensure the most comprehensive approach, AESG is offering testing of not only HEPA filters, but also their housing and installation.

WHO, partners agree initiative to reduce neonatal mortality in the region

The World Health Organization (WHO), UNFPA (the United Nations Population Fund) and UNICEF are joining efforts to support Arab countries, Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan to reduce neonatal mortality and improve the quality of healthcare services provided to newborns and mothers. Last year, more than 450,000 newborn children in the first month of life died in these countries, accounting for more than half of all deaths in children under five years old.

More than 100 maternal and child health experts, non-governmental organizations, academics and researchers took part in a three-day joint WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA meeting in Amman, Jordan in April. Participants discussed the main challenges to the well-being of newborns and plans to provide effective health care to all newborns in accordance with the "Every Newborn Action Plan".

Between 1990 and 2015, maternal mortality in the region decreased by over half (54%) while under-five mortality decreased by 48%. The largest challenge remains in the period at or around birth, with more than half of under-five deaths occurring in the first 28 days of life. Although deaths in this neonatal period have fallen by 37%, it has been at a slower rate than for older age groups.

At the meeting, the Regional Directors of WHO, UNFPA and UNICEF signed a Joint Statement on Accelerating the Reduction of Neonatal Mortality. They committed their continued support to governments across the region to end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths by 2030.

In the joint statement, the three organizations pledged to: work with governments to strengthen their leadership and capacity to maintain health services in humanitarian emergencies; build national capacity that enables Member States to mobilize a sufficient and skilled workforce, and provide essential supplies and equipment for maternal and newborn health care; strengthen the skills of the midwifery workforce and community health workers to facilitate better quality of newborn health care; and strengthen management capacity and financial resources to sustain strong health systems for high-quality service delivery.

Qatar Foundation to open pioneering school for children with autism

Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) is set to open Renad Academy (RA), a school dedicated to children who have been diagnosed with mild to moderate Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This pioneering educational facility, which aims to inspire acceptance, trust and success, reflects QF's ongoing commitment to helping students reach their full potential.

The facility will be officially unveiled on 18 September 2016. The academy will provide an optimum learning environment for young children aged three to five years, and classes will be delivered by highly qualified, specialised faculty and staff.

Buthaina Al Nuaimi, President of Pre- University Education at Qatar Foundation, said: "Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the world. The key to progress is early intervention and creating a solid support structure for children to grow."

Dr Muhammad Waqar Azeem, Chair Department of Psychiatry Sidra Medical and Research Center, Chair of National Autism Working Group, Vice Chair of WISH Autism Forum, and a member of the committee working on the establishment of the school, said: "Renad Academy will be a state-of-the-art school, serving children with autism and their families. This institution will address a major need in Qatar.

"Furthermore, Renad Academy aims to help children with ASD reach their full potential, so that each child learns the skills needed to integrate into the community and become productive members of society."

Sherri Miller, Director of the Renad Academy, said: "I am very excited to lead this project in Qatar, and I am certain that this academy will blaze the trail for future schools to support children with Autism further. Not only will we run a dynamic and exciting curriculum, but we will also provide an outreach centre to bring training and awareness to the community. Parents and caretakers will receive intensive training so they are better able to build relationships with their children. We also hope to partner with universities and hospitals in Qatar, like Sidra, to bring support to families and increase the understanding of the condition in Qatar."

Doctors recommend better screening for retinopathy of prematurity 

Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, the first overseas branch of the world-renowned Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, has identified premature babies as a special concern in the region when it comes to vision problems, because of their particular vulnerability to retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). ROP is a potentially blinding condition that affects premature babies and is one of the most common causes ofvisual loss in childhood.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, some countries in the region (such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) have severe incidence of ROP. Worldwide, every year, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm (before 37 completed weeks of gestation), and this number is rising. Across 184 countries, the rate of preterm birth ranges from 5% to 18% of babies born.

According to the World Health Organisation, preterm babies are at increased risk of illness, disability and death. Retinopathy of prematurity is usually more severe in very premature babies and if they are given too-high level of oxygen. If not recognized and treated, this can result in visual impairment or blindness.

With the Middle East's rising population and the rising standards of neonatal care, an increasing number of babies are at risk of ROP. In the region, Moorfields Dubai conducted an international medical symposium on ROP and called for early screening with an eye examination for all premature babies to detect the condition, before leaving hospital.

Dr Muhammad Irfan Khan, Consultant Ophthalmologist Specialist in Paediatrics, Strabismus and Cataract, Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, explains: "Neonatal care in the region is improving and, as a result, we are seeing more premature babies and so more complications of preterm birth, including ROP which remains a serious threat to vision. Visual impairment caused by ROP is potentially preventable and early screening and timely treatment is key to successful management."

ROP primarily affects premature infants weighing about 1.5 kilograms or less that are born earlier than 31 weeks of gestation. The smaller a baby is at birth, the more likely the baby is to develop ROP, which usually develops in both eyes and if severe, can lead to lifelong visual impairment and blindness.

Infants with ROP are considered to be at higher risk for developing certain eye problems later in life, such as retinal detachment, myopia (nearsightedness), strabismus (crossed eyes), amblyopia (lazy eye), and glaucoma. However, many of these eye problems can be treated or controlled.


Date of upload: 13th July 2016

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