Clemenceau Medical Center celebrates JCI accreditation

Clemenceau Medical Center (CMC) in Beirut, Lebanon, celebrated its accreditation by the Joint Commission International (JCI), by inviting to a special event, staff, physicians and community healthcare leaders, including Dr Mohammad Khalifeh, the Lebanese Minister of Health.

Addressing CMC staff and management, Dr Mounes Kalaawi, CEO of CMC said: “You exceeded all expectations. Congratulations on your outstanding and superb performance. It is your devotion to CMC which successfully enabled us all to reach where we are today. You must be so proud. Achieving JCI accreditation is not only a CMC internal milestone, but also one for Lebanon as a hub and center of medical excellence in the region. It officially recognises that the practices of our doctors, nurses, staff and the management team at CMC meet the standards of the best facilities in the world.”

Dr Khalife congratulated all the CMC staff for their success and said that the issue of health was one of the main topics on the Council of Ministers’ agenda. “Our aim is to improve the standards and quality of services in the health sector in order to be able to provide the best healthcare services to the Lebanese.”



Bhutan delegation visits Gulf Medical University

A delegation of government and private sector representatives from Bhutan visited Gulf Medical University in Ajman, UAE, in March to explore possibilities of working jointly with the university in areas of education, healthcare and research.

The Bhutan delegation included Zangley Dukpa, Minister of Health; Karma Yonten, Chief Executive Officer, Druk Holdings Investment; Dr Pandup Tshering, Medical Superintendent, Jigmi Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH), Thimphu; Dr Damber Singh Mothey, Head of Department of Radiology, JDWNRH; and Dr Mimi Lhamo, Paediatrician, JDWNRH.



Aspetar, Weill Cornell sign clinical training agreement

Aspetar, a Qatar-based orthopaedic and sports medicine hospital has agreed to provide clinical training to Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) medical students during their primary care rotation.

The intent of the agreement is to promote medical education in primary care, particularly its musculo-skeletal aspects, and collaborative research.

As part of the agreement, Aspetar will make its facilities available as a clinical education training site for WCMC-Q students during their primary care clinical rotations, while qualifying Aspetar teaching staff will be granted WCMC-Q faculty appointments. The medical university will also grant Aspetar physicians access to the WCMC-Q Distributed eLibrary, an electronic repository of more than 1,600 publications and periodicals.



3 diabetes amputations a day at hospital in Riyadh

Some 90 people a month have a foot amputated due to diabetes in the Saudi capital, Arab News quotes a doctor as saying.

Dr Abdulaziz Al-Gannass, foot and ankle surgeon at the King Abdulaziz National Guard Medical City in Riyadh, said diabetes-linked amputations have to be resorted to increasingly on patients at younger ages. He said the hospital performed three amputations a day. Expressing alarm at the figure, he said he could not say how many amputations there were in the whole Kingdom.

He said the worst cases of diabetes led to amputation, following which the patient has an average lifespan of only five years.

Some 25 to 27% of all people in the country have diabetes, according to government figures. “This number is really high. In every house, there is a mother or father or son who has diabetes,” he said.



Measles claims lives in Iraq

Measles has claimed the lives of three babies in Diwaniyah Province, some 130km south of Baghdad, a health official has said.

“About 800 confirmed cases have been registered so far in the province since the outbreak early this year,” Abdul-Amir al- Obaidi, head of the provincial health directorate, told IRIN on 24 March.

The local health authorities were expecting a resurgence of the disease, he said. They blamed this situation on a shortage of vaccines between 2003 and 2005 and the security situation which had prevented families from reaching health centres, or vaccinators from visiting them.

However, efforts were being made. “Since August 2008 we have been sending vaccination teams to all areas and our work is still going on especially in kindergartens and elementary schools,” he said.

WHO has reported 8,411 suspected measles cases nationwide in the first nine weeks of 2009, with 85% of cases in central Iraq and forecasts of cases gradually moving to the south. By contrast, in the whole of 2008 WHO reported 8,134 measles cases in Iraq.

On 24 February, the Iraqi Health Ministry said hundreds of measles cases had been confirmed, especially in provinces where health services had collapsed due to violence. It said the provinces of Salaheddin and Kirkuk in the north, Anbar, Diyala, Baghdad and Babil in the centre, and Nassiriyah in the south were the worst affected.



UAE MoH launches major diabetes care campaign

The UAE Ministry of Health has launched an extensive campaign to fight diabetes across the Emirates. The initiative is part of a 10-year strategic plan starting this year to combat the disease. The UAE has one of the highest prevalence rates of diabetes in world. At 25% of the adult population it is significantly higher than the world average of 5%, and is expected to increase.

To tackle this epidemic the UAE MoH has introduced the National Diabetes Care Continuum Programme (DCC), the main objectives of which are primary prevention, the improvement of the quality of health services for patients with diabetes, the strengthening of methods of surveillance, monitoring and evaluation, and the improvement of diabetes research.

The DCC will undertake a number of activities including public awareness campaigns, training of healthcare professionals and diabetes screening.

Important elements of the DCC are the standardisation of clinical guidelines for diabetes care and the establishment of a diabetes patient registry, which will provide knowledge about the scope of the disease.

The MoH has produced a booklet “National Diabetes Guidelines – United Arab Emirates”, which provides a protocol for diabetes care and aims to ensure consistency in the treatment of diabetes.

Major diabetes clinics will be set up in strategic areas where patients can get specialised support to help them manage their diabetes. And mini diabetes clinics will be established in Primary Healthcare Centres across the country to provide follow-up care to patients.

A DCC website – www.dcc.org – has been set up to provide educational resources and various services.

At the launch Hamid Qatami, UAE Minister of Health, applauded GlaxoSmithKline for their technical and financial contribution to the initiative.

The ministry called on all medical staff and technical specialists engaged in the treatment of diabetes to take part in training courses sponsored by the MoH.



Weill Cornell Qatar students celebrate Match Day

Exhilaration and euphoria were the overriding emotions on 19 March as the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) Class of 2009 discovered where they would spend the next few years as resident physicians.

Match Day marks a celebration of many years of hard work. Seventeen medical school seniors were joined by classmates, friends, family, and faculty members at WCMC-Q Match Day Ceremony in honour of the occasion.

It took only seconds for the WCMC-Q Class of 2009 to click open the email messages that revealed where they would undergo their postgraduate residency training. “I can’t believe it! All these years of hard work have finally paid off,” exclaimed Yasir Tarabichi who matched at Cleveland Clinic and will do his residency there in internal medicine.

Members of WCMC-Q’s Class of 2009 were not the only ones anxiously awaiting Match Day. As part of the National Residency Program, medical students across the US also learned their residency destination.

Dr Javaid Sheikh, Interim Dean at WCMC-Q extended his congratulations to the Class of 2009: “This is a very special day in the life of a medical student – a day that they will remember for a long time. I applaud the students for their perseverance, dedication, and hard work that have allowed them to reach this momentous day. The fact that all our students matched in areas of their choice is highly significant and speaks to the quality of our programs.”

Ali Saad who matched at New York Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Cornell Medical College in New York summarized his experience at WCMCQ: “Above all else I thank my class for things that cannot be conveyed through words. They were the greatest part of my experience at WCMC-Q.”



UAE’s Tawam awarded top food safety certification

Tawam Hospital in Al Ain, UAE, in affiliation with Johns Hopkins Medicine has been awarded the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) certification for its food safety standards.

“Food safety at hospitals present daily challenges due to the large volumes of food prepared and the time it takes to distribute food throughout the hospital. By implementing food safety audits and ensuring that staff at Tawam adhere to food safety standards and procedures we have been able to increase patient satisfaction and meet the HACCP requirements,” said Michael Heindel, CEO of Tawam Hospital.

The HACCP certification is an international standard developed by the United States FDA that defines the requirements of safe food management. Serving on average one million meals a year, Tawam began implementing the HACCP standards in June last year with the aim of providing and serving the best hospital food in the UAE and increasing patient satisfaction.

Maryam Al Dhaheri, Manager of Support Service at Tawam Hospital, said that new food choices would be available from May this year: “We have already made significant improvements to the choice, quality, taste and presentation of our food. With regards to choice, patients will soon be able to select their food preferences from a restaurant style menu.”



Magrabi opens state-of-art eye hospital in DHCC

A new state-of-the-art Magrabi Eye Hospital was opened in Dubai Healthcare City in March.

The US$5.5-million Magrabi Eye Hospital Dubai, with eight eye specialists and 39 nursing and administrative staff, will offer a range of treatments for refractive ailments, corneal diseases, cataracts, glaucoma, vitreo-retinal diseases and paediatric ophthalmology diseases. The hospital will also offer oculoplasty and the fitting of artificial eyes.

This facility is the 32nd Magrabi facility in the Middle East region

Mutasim Alireza, Managing Director of Magrabi Hospitals and Centers, said: “The opening of this hospital is a major milestone in Magrabi’s 54-year journey, which started from a humble ophthalmology hospital in Jeddah; at that time the region’s first eye specialist centre.”

The hospital also announced its commitment to Noor Dubai – a Dubai-based charitable initiative, which offers free eye treatment to the underprivileged across the Middle East and North Africa.



Yemeni doctor wins GSK grant for breast cancer research

Dr Nadeem Mohammad Nagi, director of the National Oncology Centre – Yemen, is among the first researchers to be awarded funding as part of a new GlaxoSmithKline-sponsored initiative, which aims to advance understanding of breast cancer in ethnically diverse (non-Caucasian) populations. The GSK Oncology International Ethnic Research Initiative (GSK ERI) was established to address the lack of breast cancer data in these populations, through the provision of grants for independent, non-clinical research projects.

Accepting the award in Dubai in April, Dr Nagi said his research would help in understanding the cause of breast cancer, the primary fatal disease in women.

He said his research would go a long way to improving preventive measures and treatment in the region.

“There is a lack of clinical research and reliable epidemiological data in the region and treatment guidelines are based on research collected from the Western world,” he noted.

GSK ERI research projects can include breast cancer epidemiology; ethnicity; genetics; risk assessment; biomarkers of risk or other factors causing or contributing to breast cancer; and other aspects of non-clinical research.

● Any researcher interested in submitting an application for the next round of 2009 applications should email the GSK ERI Project Manager at gsk.eri@innovara.com to request a copy of the research grant guidelines and application process.



Medicine costs may be standardised in GCC

The price of medicines may be standardised across all six GCC countries in a bid to make healthcare more affordable, reported Arabian Business.

The GCC plans to review current prices for pharmaceuticals to determine the lowest possible price that could be adopted across the GCC, according to The Kuwait Times. The move follows a recent hike in the cost of drugs, an unnamed GCC official with inside knowledge of the Gulf Health Council told Awan newspaper.

The executive bureau of the council is planning to prepare a detailed study of the variations in the price of medicines across the GCC that will then be submitted to the respective ministries of health and cabinets, the official added.



Private sector health facility projects abandoned in Saudi

Arabian Business, quoting a report in Arabic daily Al Hayat, reports that private sector plans to build new hospitals and extend existing ones in Saudi Arabia have been abandoned or put on hold as a result of the global economic downturn.

Dr Muhammed Mutabqani, chairman of the National Health Committee (NHC) at the Saudi Council of Chambers of Commerce was quoted as saying private sector investments were no longer available for these projects.

“The private health sector is part of the international and local economy and, therefore, the crisis has forced owners of hospitals and investors in the field to give up their plans for carrying out expansion work and dissuaded them from investing in new hospitals in various parts of the Kingdom,” he said.

Dr Saleh Ghnbaz, deputy chairman of the board of directors of the Central Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, said that the crisis would hamper the expansion of Saudi health projects. “I regret this because we need at least 5,000 more beds,” he said.

Dr Mutabqani said the NHC had asked the ministry of health to increase loans allocated to healthcare investors from SR50 million (about US$13 million) to SR200 million.

“We pleaded with him to treat investors in the health field in the same way that the owners of factories are treated. The King also directed the former Minister of Health to look into the loan issue, but the ministry’s response was below our expectations,” Mutabqani was quoted as saying.



Pneumococcal vaccine on GCC immunisation course

Pharmaceutical company Wyeth announced that as of March 2009 its vaccine Prevenar (Pneumococcal saccharide conjugated vaccine) is available in the national immunization programme for all six Gulf Co-operation Countries following the WHO recommendation for priority inclusion of the vaccine in national childhood immunisation programmes.

The 7-valent vaccine for children under two helps protect infants and young children against the seven vaccine serotypes causing the majority of pneumococcal diseases worldwide. Invasive pneumococcal disease is the leading vaccinepreventable cause of death in young children worldwide. It kills and disables infants by causing meningitis, pneumonia, sepsis and bacteremia. 

  

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