Going against the grain

In the face of the current global financial downturn it was surprising to see how busy the Arab Health expo was in Dubai at the end of January. First day attendance figures were reportedly up 20% on last year. We spoke to many of the key players in the medical equipment manufacturing industry – GE, Siemens, Philips and others and all were cautiously optimistic about the outlook for the medical industry in this part of the world. The CEO of Siemens Healthcare, Maurice Faber, said that they were going to go against the grain and invest more in this region rather than cut back. The other companies expressed similar sentiments. This bodes well for the industry here. And yet it is to be expected, as much of the healthcare infrastructure, which is being developed apace in the region, is being funded by government and they are unlikely to abandon these projects, particularly the ones that have already got off the ground. These new facilities still need to be staffed, fitted out and equipped, ensuring a continued demand for medical technology, devices and equipment. Although the medical market in this region might slow slightly from the heady pace of the past few years, it should on this basis continue to show growth.

The lead focus in this issue is ultrasound. We look at several products that have been launched in the region, in particular the Automated Breast Volume Scanner application from Siemens that improves imaging, particularly for dense breast tissue, significantly speeds up scanning and intelligently enhances workflow to enable greater patient throughput.

Major companies and health facilities often wait for the occasion of Arab Health to announce developments. We review some of the news emanating from the show and look at some of the many new products launched at the event.

We also have several interviews in this issue. We speak to Professor Kevin O’Malley, the CEO of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland - Medical University of Bahrain, about the new medical university.

Brian Wilkie

(Mar-Apr 2009)



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