UAE diabetes plan

THE UAE Ministry of Health (MoH) is developing a unified strategy for diabetes control and prevention, according to a report (28 March 2007) in the Khaleej Times.

The MoH’s strategy would focus on managing the risks associated with diabetes, like obesity, smoking and unhealthy lifestyle. As part of its unified strategy, the ministry will set up mobile screening centres for diabetes, especially in remote areas,” Dr Ali Shukur, under-secretary at the MoH, told the newspaper.

“Doctors should not merely treat the symptoms and ignore the other health complications associated with the disease. There is an urgent need for educators and nutritionists to address the social challenge posed by the disease,” Dr Shukur is quoted as saying.

Queen Rania in Cologne

The Jordan Times reports that Her Majesty Queen Rania inaugurated (2 April 2007) the new Queen Rania Rehabilitation Centre at the University of Cologne in Germany, where a memorandum of understanding was signed between the university and the Kingdom of Jordan’s Royal Medical Services.

Under the agreement, the rehabilitation centre will offer training programmes, both short-term and longterm practical training, for Jordanian physiotherapists and physicians. The rehabilitation centre specialises in treatment for children with mobility difficulties. Physiotherapists and physicians from the rehabilitation centre will also visit Jordan to provide on-thejob training at the Paediatric Rehabilitation Medical Clinic, part of the Queen Rania Children’s Hospital, which is scheduled to open in 2008.

Queen Rania is the chairperson of the Royal Health Awareness Society in Jordan. The newspaper quoted the Queen as saying the “centre offers a prescription of hope for those children and their families, who have missed out on some of the twists and turns that make the journey of childhood so exciting... Combining compassion and care with cuttingedge technology and medical expertise, your clinic enables children to stand tall and regain their mobility one step at a time.”

Tamayoz awards

Harvard Medical School Dubai Center (HMSDC) Institute for Postgraduate Education and Research, in conjunction with Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC), presented the Tamayoz Award to six people in the categories of Nursing and Healthcare Professionals, Trainees and Young Physicians.

The HMSDC “Tamayoz” Awards recognise achievements in clinical care and medical research. The winners received a onemonth observership at a Harvard-affiliated hospital or laboratory in Boston, Massachusetts. The awards are designed to stimulate the academic careers of young healthcare professionals.

“We are committed to recognising the contributions of individual practitioners and trainees in addition to reinforcing the importance of education and research in the medical community. These awards will focus the spotlight on Dubai as a place for nurturing an innovative and expert medical practice,” said Dr Muhadditha Al Hashimi, CEO of Dubai Healthcare City.

Dr Hashimi said the awards are being positioned as the Oscars of the region’s medical and healthcare sector. Recipients of the Tamayoz Awards were selected by a panel comprising faculty members from Harvard Medical School The awards for Nursing and Healthcare Professionals were presented to Miharu Yamakawa, BSc, a graduate physical therapist specialising in orthopaedics and paediatrics and Einas Al-Eisa MSc, PhD, a graduate physical therapist. Yamakawa works as a Treating Physiotherapist at the Emirates Integrated Medical Center in Dubai. Al-Eisa is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Rehabilitation at King Saud University.

The Trainee Awards were given to Nabeela Ahmed, MClin Dent, BDS and Subhi J Al’ Aref. Ahmed is a senior registrar in Paediatric Dentistry at the Department of Health and Medical Services in Dubai and has a record of extensive training in a broad range of clinical areas. Al’ Aref is a third year medical student at Weill Cornell Medical School in Qatar and an active member of the research team on cystic fibrosis.

The Young Physician Awards went to Ali Al- Obaidli, consultant Nephrologist and chief of Transplant Services at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi and Khawla S. Al-Kuraya, MD, director of a research centre at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Abu Dhabi health company

Gulf News reports (6 April 2007) that UAE President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in his capacity as Ruler of Abu Dhabi, has issued a decree setting up the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (adhsc) as a public joint stock company.

The company, called Sihha, will have a capital of Dh1 billion (US$272 million) equally distributed at a nominal value of Dh1 per share, all of which shall be fully paid and owned by the government.

Ownership of all Abu Dhabi government health and medical facilities, properties, staff and all agreements shall be transferred to the new company by virtue of a decree by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, the decree says.

Dubai diabetes centre

According to a report in Gulf News, an independent centre dedicated to diabetes is in the works for Dubai, with officials expecting to break ground by December this year.

Qadi Saeed Al Murooshid, director-general of the Dubai Department of Health and Medical Services (DoHMS) told the newspaper that the health authority was finalising details with US-based Joslin Diabetes Centre, which will partner with DoHMS in the establishment and running of the new centre, to be located near Rashid Hospital.

WorldCare Wellness Center

WorldCare is to build the Middle East’s largest wellness centre at phase II of Dubai HealthCare City (DHCC) at a cost of Dh1 billion (US$272 million). The WorldCare Wellness Center will be developed with the US-based Duke University Health System and Partners Healthcare International.

According to a report in Gulf News the WorldCare Wellness Center will be directly connected to their academic consortium through the WorldCare’s Global Telemedicine network.

The WorldCare Wellness Center will include a 400- room five-star hotel, prevention and screening programme, medical spa, and weight management programme, as well as three restaurants specialising in healthy cuisine.

Saudi mini hospitals

In Saudi Arabia the Ministry of Health is planning to turn primary health centres into mini hospitals with advanced facilities, according to a report in Arab News (31 March 2007).

The initiative is intended to reduce pressure on general hospitals throughout the kingdom. The newspaper says the move is set against a backdrop of plans to privatise state hospitals.

However, Dr Khaled Mirghalani, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, said the ministry would continue to run the country’s primary health care centres, provide child and mother care and take steps for protection against chronic and contagious diseases.

$250m hospitals plan

Dr Azad Moopen, an entrepreneur whose company, Moopen Group, manages 40 healthcare centres and pharmacies in the UAE, is investing more than Dh900 million (US$250 million) in setting up 60 more outlets across the region – including 10 hospitals. “We will have 100 healthcare centres including 10 hospitals in three years,” Dr Azad Moopen, chairman of Moopen Group, told Gulf News.

Moopen Group, has recently opened a Dh120 million, 60-bed hospital, Medcare, in Jumeirah, Dubai. This will be expanded to a 100-bed facility in the coming years.

Dubai health group setup

A committee has been set up in Dubai by the Dubai Executive Council and the Department of Health and Medical Services (DoHMS) to prepare the groundwork for restructuring Dubai’s health sector, according to a report in Gulf News (1 April 2007).

The initiative is part of the so-called Dubai Strategy launched recently by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

According to the report the committee is tasked with drawing up a public health plan, improving the quality of health and medical services to meet global standards, ensuring access to affordable healthcare for all and increasing public health awareness.

The committee will establish operating and training processes for medical centres, regulate the production and import of foods and drugs, and help public and private sector companies in implementing employee health awareness and healthcare programmes.

Iran, Malaysia MoU

Iran’s Isfahan Medical University and the Ministry of Health of Malaysia signed a memorandum of understanding (15 April) to expand co-operation in the medical science, health and treatment sectors.

Shahin Shirani, chancellor of Isfahan Medical University, is quoted by IRNA as saying: “The MoU will prepare the grounds for the university to make use of Malaysia’s experience in the health and medical fields. The academics of the university will be able to put forward their knowledge and experiences to the Asian country.”

The improvement in health standards is also a key point of the MoU, according to IRNA. Kamran Baqeri Lankarani, Iran’s Minister of Health, said Tehran has attached great importance to the expansion of political and economic relations with Kuala Lumpur in the past few years, adding that there were several shared interests in the field of health.

He said the two countries were interested in bilateral co-operation with regards to medical sciences education, vaccine production, and traditional and herbal medicine.

He pointed out that women’s health, the fight against non-contagious diseases and the antismoking campaign were among the main programmes of Iran’s health ministry.

Saudi heart disease

In Saudi Arabia, Hamad Al-Manie, the Minister of Health, inaugurated the Advanced Cardiac Imaging Conference at the Prince Salman Heart Center in King Fahd Medical City (KFMC) in Riyadh on 14 April.

Speaking at the event, the minister said the kingdom faced the danger of a 400% increase in the incidence of heart diseases. He also called for better health awareness among Saudis, adding that the main cause for heart diseases in Saudi Arabia was diabetes.

“Our first priority is to increase health awareness in the kingdom, especially among diabetes patients,” he said.

According to a report in Arab News he said KFMC would not only be a worldclass centre for curing heart diseases, but also for tumours, adding that Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defence and aviation, had donated SR70 million (about US$18.6 million) to KFMC to construct its special soon-toopen tumour centre.

UAE Thalassemia

Thalassemia, the inherited blood disease which is carried by as many as one in ten Emirati nationals, can easily be prevented, say local healthcare experts, and could be totally eradicated from the country in as little as 10 years.

The underlying issue that allows the disease to be carried from one generation to the next is one of insufficient general education about the Thalassemia disease among the country’s growing population.

“Carriers of Thalassemia live normal lives, but when they marry other carriers and have children, the disease then passes to their children who suffer from the ailments of the disease rather than merely acting of carriers of the Thalassemia gene,” said Dr Khawla Belhoul, director of Dubai Thalassemia Center.

“And most carriers don’t even know that they are carriers. That’s where a simple pre-marital blood test can help. We strongly encourage all young adults to take a simple, inexpensive, and painless blood test before getting married,” added Dr Belhoul. In a strong, public show of support and compassion for patients with Thalassemia and their families, a ‘Tour of Hope’ was held at the end of April, with participants traveling to all seven emirates in the UAE to communicate that living with Thalassemia can be made easier and life more enjoyable.

Iran Interferon

Iran’s Ministry of Health, Treatment and Medical Education announced in April that pharmacists in the country are producing Pegilated Interferon. The drug is used to promote immunity against certain chronic diseases.

Kamran Baqeri-Lankarani, Minister of Health, said: “Production is at the laboratory phase and this has proved effective.”

According to IRNA he said the drug will be marketed after passing approval and registration procedures.

Amman medical city

Kuwaiti investors are seeking government approval to launch a medical city near Amman at a cost of US$3-5 billion, according to a statement by the official

Jordanian news agency, Petra. The project will include hospitals with the latest medical technology, hotels, entertainment centres, swimming pools and gardens.

A report carried in the Jordan Times (24 April) says the Kuwaiti application offered the Jordan’s Social Security Cooperation, one of the largest financial institutions in the Kingdom, a partnership deal.

According to the report knowledgeable medical officials described the project as “a new type of service to the region including organ transplant, stem cell research and new methods in treating complicated diseases”.

If the project goes ahead according to plan, the medical city would be ready to receive its first patient by 2012.

Twins separated

Cameroonian conjoined twins were successfully separated 21 April following a 10-hour operation at King Abdul Aziz Medical City in Riyadh, according to a report in Arab News.

The twins were joined at the area of the chest, the abdomen and the pelvis. Each of them has a single lower limb but they shared a third one.

The marathon surgery began at 7.30am and was performed by a 65-member medical team, which included 10 Saudi women surgeons the operation was carried out in 10 phases.

In response to an appeal made by the parents of the 13-month-old twin girls Phambom and Shefbou, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah issued a directive to conduct the surgery at his expense.

Award for Oman doctor

Dr Mazin Jawad Jaffer Al Khabori, head of ENT department in Al Nahda hospital, Oman, has been awarded the coveted Karl Storz award for excellence in teaching. Dr Mazin was selected for his untiring commitment to advancing continuous medical education for otolaryngologists in the AGCC and Middle East.

Dr Mazin received the award at the Middle East Update in otolaryngology conference held in Dubai recently.

Bahrain hospital standards

Bahrain’s Gulf Daily News reports (19 April) that hospitals in the island state will have to comply with new international standards within three months, under orders from the health ministry. The move is aimed at further enhancing Bahrain's health care standards.

Dr Tawfeeq Naseeb, the health ministry head of licensing and registration, told the newspaper that they had studied the experience of countries like Australia, New Zealand, UK and Singapore and finally adopted the Australian standards and “modified it to suit our requirements”.

Three types of standards are being developed, said Dr Naseeb. These are operational, facility and licence holder standards. The order is applicable to both government and private hospitals.   


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