Current Issue


Magnetic Middle East

We’re extremely proud to say that this issue marks our 35th anniversary as the region’s oldest and still best-read independent medical publication. In that time we’ve seen many changes, not just in demographics (our home base Dubai alone has gone from around 200,000 inhabitants to well over 2 million), and healthcare infrastructure (3 hospitals to over 50), but also in the number of countries and type of company trading here. For example, in the past few months we have been invited to Paris, Berlin and Seoul, and we’ll visit Taipei in June. Normally, we travel regularly and extensively in this region to ensure that we keep our finger on the pulse of local developments, but the recent flurry of international invitations is interesting. It signifies a growing interest in the Middle East market by medical device manufacturing companies – and it was this type of company that we went to talk to. And not just the global multi-nationals, but an increasing number of smaller companies that are looking to do business here, as it’s one of the few growth regions in the current depressed global economic climate. In essence they want our readers to know they are out there and looking for business. You can read the Berlin report in this issue and the Seoul report in the next.

Regionally, there has been an important – some would say overdue - initiative by the Gulf Federation for Cancer Control, in partnership with various health authorities, to set up a GCC-wide cancer registry. By providing access to information about Gulf-wide trends in cancer diagnosis and other relevant data, such a registry could go a long way towards improving local cancer care and developing Gulf-specific treatment protocols. We urge all stakeholders in this initiative to give it their full support. See page 10.

Also in this issue, we look at new ultrasound offerings from some of the leading manufacturers. There is a noticeable trend to making these devices more portable so they can be more easily used at the point of care, as well as to simplify and lower their cost to increase access to ultrasound. Where the most advanced ultrasound scanners are concerned, improvements are generally in the development and integration of new enhanced imaging software technology.

There is an interesting, and at times heated, debate taking place about the safety of publishing new research regarding the H5N1 influenza virus. The virus in its current form can only be passed from birds to humans, but not between humans. However, scientists at labs in the US and the Netherlands have shown how a mutated version of the deadly virus could be manufactured and spread easily among humans. Biosecurity experts then stepped into the fray in an effort to prevent publication of the science, for fear that it could fall into the wrong hands and be used by bioterrorists to create socalled bio-weapons. The issue went to the WHO, which has now placed a moratorium on publication pending further talks. Read this important and thought-provoking news feature on page 26.

I trust that, as in every issue of Middle East Health, you’ll find a wealth of relevant and educational information. Do keep sending in your comments and – good reading!

Brian Wilkie




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