Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar launches new journal

Faculty members from Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) have partnered with an international team of leading medical and healthcare practitioners, educators, and policy planners to launch the Journal of Local and Global Health Perspectives (ISSN: 2225-9228).

The journal is a peer-reviewed, international publication focusing on research concerning all aspects of global health practiced at local levels, in addition to the implications of local health issues within the global context. Its objective is to share innovative and emerging evidence-based approaches to public health issues which are likely to positively influence public health policy in communities around the world.

Dr Ravinder Mamtani, Professor of Public Health and Associate Dean for Global and Public Health at WCMC-Q, said: “This is a first for the Middle East, as there exists no other journal in this region sharing research and perspectives on public health issues with medical practitioners around the world. In creating the journal, we have brought together global leaders in Clinical Health, Genetics and Translational Research, Infectious Disease, Toxicology, Biostatistics, Community and Population Health, from regions as diverse as North America, Europe, India, Africa, and Qatar. Together they form the editorial team which is overseen by doctors Büsselberg, Lowenfels, Carpenter and myself, ensuring a broad base of scientific as well as geographic experience in public health.”

This open source publication will focus mainly on clinical health, communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases of public health importance, environmental health, toxicology, nutrition, health care delivery, public health policy, women’s health, and public health education.

QScience – Open Access Journals www.qscience.com

Dubai to build an autism rehabilitation centre

A collaboration between the Community Development Authority (CDA) and Autism Trust Foundation (ATF), a UKregistered body, has resulted in the decision to create a comprehensive centre for autism rehabilitation, to accommodate all the cases in Dubai, including the 272 cases that are on the waiting list at other autism centres. The centre will also house the latest technical equipment run by internationally- qualified therapists to help individuals with autism disorders acquire necessary developmental skills and access to education and will be equipped with the capability to cover all the Emirati children affected by autism, now and in the future.

His Excellency Khaled Al Kamda, Director General, Community Development Authority (CDA), said: “The establishment of a comprehensive centre of autism rehabilitation is a pathbreaking achievement considering that needs for autism rehabilitation is growing in Dubai, as well as the UAE.”

Currently, children with autism face long waiting lists for free rehabilitation service, or costly private services.

Avian flu in Egypt

The latest cases of H5N1 influenza infections in Egypt are as follows:

- 37-year-old female from Kafr Elshihk governorate in the Kelleen district, developed symptoms on 18 February 2012 and was admitted to hospital on 23 February. She died on 26 February 2012.
- 32-year-old male from Behira governorate, in the Abo Elmatameer district, developed symptoms on 16 February 2012 and was admitted to hospital on 21 February where he received oseltamivir treatment upon admission. He died on 28 February 2012.
- 40-year-old female from Dakahlia Governorate, died on 15 March 2012.
- 15-year-old female from Giza Governorate, died on 31 March 2012.
- 36-year-old female from Giza Governate, admitted to hospital on 7 April 2012. She died the same day.

For all these cases the source of infection indicates close contact with sick or deceased backyard poultry.

At the time of going to press, of the 167 cases confirmed in Egypt, 60 have been fatal.

HAAD issues guidelines for breast cancer imaging

Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) has issued the UAE’s first guidelines on the use of PET/CT imaging in breast cancer management in collaboration with Tawam Molecular Imaging Centre in Al Ain. The new guidelines were introduced to the medical community in Abu Dhabi during a one-day Continuing Medical Education event entitled “HAAD Breast Cancer Management Standard Workshop” held on February 21, 2012.

“Breast cancer takes a huge toll on patients and the health care system in this part of the world,” said Muhammad A. Chaudhry, M.D., assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Medicine and medical director of Tawam Molecular Imaging Centre. “The importance of this project cannot be underestimated and the impact of it, once implemented, will be truly remarkable.”

The new evidence-based guidelines take into consideration international practices and disease presentations specific to the region. Several other medical education activities on breast cancer management are planned in order to educate the medical community about the updated guidelines throughout the year.

Qatar gets new ambulances

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) unveiled the first of a new fleet of 100 emergency ambulances.

Built to world class specifications, the new vehicles have narrower bodies to enable faster progress through traffic, enhanced warning systems, vastly improved safety features for all occupants, and a new, state-of-the-art stretcher system. They are carefully designed to help the crew deliver improved care at the roadside and on-the-move, and to enhance the patient’s experience and safety whilst on board.

Every new vehicle is fitted with GPS location technology and mechanical heart and lung resuscitation equipment.

The HMC Ambulance Service is the first national ambulance service to fully implement these cutting edge technologies across a whole fleet of vehicles.

These resources are supported by the Lifeflight Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS).

First Emirati ocular oncology specialist in Abu Dhabi

Mafraq Hospital, owned by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company PJSC (SEHA), announced the appointment of Dr Khaled Abuhaleeqa, the world’s first and only Emirati doctor to specialise in ocular oncology.

Filling the roles of consultant ophthalmologist, oculoplastic surgeon, neuroophthalmologist and ocular oncologist for the hospital’s Ophthalmology Department, Dr Abuhaleeqa is among just 150 estimated specialists worldwide who holds the necessary training to treat rare cancers. He recently moved back to the UAE from Canada where he earned his doctorate and subspecialist qualifications in ocular oncology at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. During his residency, he worked for the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Canada. Following this, he served as a fellow in ocular oncology, oculoplastics and neuroophthalmology at several hospitals and health institutions in Ontario, Canada.

Dr Mohamed Yaman, Chief Medical Officer Mafraq Hospital, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Dr Abuhaleeqa to Mafraq Hospital, and we consider him a strong asset to our team. Emiratization is extremely important to Mafraq Hospital – a significant number of the hospital's highly skilled physicians are UAE Nationals. These exceptional medical professionals serve as strong role models not only for Emirati Nationals, but for all UAE residents.”

The Mafraq Hospital Ophthalmology Department currently staffs a total of 22 doctors and nurses and treats approximately 80 patients annually.

Neuron Insurance joins hands with Saudi German Hospital - Dubai

Saudi German Hospital – Dubai has finalised a direct billing agreement with Neuron Insurance. More agreements are anticipated in future between the two companies.

Sobhi Batterjee, President of the Saudi German Hospitals Group, said: “Through such initiatives as the Enaya programme, which covers the Dubai Government employees and their families, our agreement with Neuron is set to make our already commendable offerings even more convenient, more efficient and more acessible.”

Sharjah accepted into the WHO ‘Healthy Cities’ project

Sharjah, UAE, has been accepted in the World Health Organisation’s ‘Healthy Cities’ project, becoming the first emirate in the UAE to participate in the programme. Sharjah’s participation comes as part of its efforts to drive its environmental, social, cultural and economic potential, in order to position the emirate on the global map. Experts from WHO will help Sharjah in achieving its goals and adhering to the programme’s criteria.

The integration into WHO’s programme validates the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and is a testimony to his keenness and continuous concern for the welfare of his people.

In their first meeting, the chair committee responsible for managing the integration of Sharjah into WHO’s Healthy Cities programme, discussed the agenda of the World Health Organisation’s ‘Healthy Cities’ project and the steps taken in Sharjah to improve health and environmental levels, in addition to fostering community participation in the programme.

Members of the chair committee reviewed the advantages of associating with the Healthy Cities project, such as supporting the efforts of government bodies and local institutions in Sharjah. The members also examined the programme’s mechanisms and standards to put in place policies and systems that will ensure Sharjah’s conformance to the parameters of a Healthy City.

The meeting also discussed other topical issues related to facilitating the process of collecting and analysing information, preparing the city’s health plan, encouraging the participation of community and non-governmental organisations, providing technical support and assisting the completion of the programme’s activities, fostering cooperative action between different sectors of the economy, and assessing health risks and impacts.

RMSI donates to children’s hospital in Kabul

During a routine operational visit to the war torn capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, members of the RMSI team, including company CEO Rob Lamb, visited the Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital. The team distributed toys, vital medical equipment and supplies to the hospital and money to the children’s families to enable treatments to continue.

Dubai-based RMSI delivers fully-integrated medical solutions for hostile environments across the world, including Afghanistan. Commenting on the recent trip, Lamb, said: “We come here to give back to the community in which we operate and hopefully lift spirits while doing so. However the situation here is truly dire. The doctors and nurses at the hospital must be applauded for their courage and ability to make the impossible possible on a daily basis. They are the heroes for these innocent children that are the victims in these war-struck hostile areas.”

RMSI has more hospital trips planned in the cities and villages where they operate throughout 2012.

Lebanon employing unique awareness-raising tactics

To mark the international colorectal cancer awareness month, Hoffmann-La Roche and Mount Lebanon Hospital held a joint press conference to sensitise the general public about the importance of early screening and diagnosis while raising awareness about colon cancer. The conference featured a unique educational tool in the form of an inflatable human colon, which stood 2.5 metres high and stretched 11 metres long. Bemused guests were invited to walk through the colon which aims to highlight the importance of screening for colorectal cancer. Featuring giant polyps, abnormal growths, various stages of colorectal cancer and signs of non-malignant colorectal diseases, the unusual structure shows what the inside of both a healthy and unhealthy bowel looks like. Medical professionals were also on hand to answer any questions the public had about colon cancer and other diseases of the colon.

Dr Fadi Nasr, head of the Oncology- Haematology department at Mount Lebanon Hospital, said: “Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly reported cancer in the world and one of the nation’s widely spread, yet preventable, cancers. A significant difference could be made in survival rates by raising the profile of the disease, dispelling the taboos surrounding it, encouraging early detection through screening and treating the disease at an early stage.”

In Lebanon, there are around 497 cases of Colon Cancer and around 129 cases of Rectal Cancer diagnosed each year.

15 Abu Dhabi doctors lose licenses

The licences of 15 doctors were suspended last year after it was found that they were practising medicine in nonmedical institutions, including massage parlours, according to a senior official at the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD).

“The doctors’ licences as well as the licences of eight clinics and medical centres were revoked after several serious violations were discovered by our inspectors in 2011,” said the official.

“HAAD also issued warnings to five doctors and five nurses, as well as 11 hospitals and one clinic,” he added. He continued by saying that there were 10 chiefs of medicine, and hospital and clinic owners, among the violators.

Violations included practising medicine without a licence, practising in fields outside of their speciality, medical errors, writing prescriptions without examining patients and forging official documents.

The HAAD representative reiterated the authority’s instructions that only medical institutions may provide ‘oneday surgery’ services, which are also limited to those using a ‘scope’, such as colonoscopies or lasers. He said: “Any medical centre that wishes to practise such diagnostic and treatment services should approach the Technical Committee for Running Institutional Licences at HAAD and request that they adjust the centre's licence to a one-day surgery centre licence provided that all requirements are met.”

Siemens donates medical equipment to Libyan hospital

Siemens has donated of critically-needed medical equipment to Libya. The donation to Al Jala Hospital in Benghazi comprises a SIREMOBIL Compact intraoperative imaging unit and the Acuson X300 Ultrasound System that will provide immediate medical assistance to one of Libya’s main trauma centrs and will improve the quality of care and allow for the treatment of larger number of patients.

The medical donation comes on the heels of another recent Siemens delegation visit to Libya marking the completion of a fast-track program to restore full power generation capacity at the Misrata power plant and to repair the 400-kV Misrata substation to ensure uninterrupted electricity supplies to large parts of the population in the northwestern Libyan city.

Dr Mohammad Belead, General Manager, Al Jala Hospital, said: “We are grateful that Al Jala Hospital was chosen to receive this timely medical assistance from Siemens. We see more than 400 patients a day, out of which 300 are emergency and trauma cases. With these medical imaging systems available to our clinicians, we are now better equipped to deal with the large number of patients which require immediate medical attention. The equipment will aid quicker and safer diagnoses especially in the face of critical situations, which in turn greatly improves the quality of our care.”

Allergies surveyed in the Middle East

Results from the multinational landmark Allergies in the Middle East (AIME) Survey of over 500 adults and parents of children with nasal allergies, or allergic rhinitis (also known as hay fever), showed that symptoms are severe enough to impair work performance and diminish quality of life.

The large-scale AIME Survey, sponsored by Nycomed is the first of its kind to assess the extent to which bothersome nasal allergies impact mood, sleep, work productivity and ability to perform daily tasks in the Middle East.

Dr Hussain Abdul Rahman, MSc, Director of Medical Affairs, Consultant and Head of ENT Department, Dubai Hospital said: “The AIME Survey showed for the first time the wide prevalence of allergic nasal disease in the Middle East, whilst highlighting the impact of symptoms from allergic rhinitis on work productivity and quality of life.”

Approximately 400 million people suffer from nasal allergies worldwide, with prevalence rates in the Middle East estimated to be as high as 10% and rising as developing countries adopt Western lifestyles.

The AIME Survey revealed that nasal allergies diminish quality of life by preventing participation in outdoor activities, reducing work productivity on average by 27%, interfering in academic performance, and leaving allergy sufferers of all ages feeling tired, depressed or sad, and miserable as a result of troublesome symptoms. Notably, most seek relief with medication, but approximately half of adults and children reported that their current nasal allergy spray failed to provide 24-hour relief and it was not effective enough to treat all symptoms, with the ‘effectiveness wearing off over time’. 49% of patients said that the discomfort is something that they cannot tolerate without relief.

In response, Nycomed has announced that its Omnaris (ciclesonide) nasal spray is available in the United Arab Emirates for the treatment of allergic rhinitis in adults and adolescents over the age of 12.

Allergies in the Middle East, www.allergiesinmiddleeast.com

UAE’s licensing laws amended

More than 40,000 doctors, nurses and health professionals can now practise freely anywhere in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Dubai Healthcare City following an agreement between the DHA and the Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCA) which does away with the earlier requirement for doctors to apply for a new license if they wish to move between organisations.

Raja Eisa Al Gurg, vice-chairperson of the DHCA, said this does away with duplication of work and will improve efficiency in the health care sector.

Earlier Dubai and Abu Dhabi signed a similar deal that makes it easy for medicare professionals to work in either emirate. This agreement is expected to attract investors who do not wish to see their professional staff tied down in one area.

The only paper that will be required for a DHA licensed doctor is that showing that he or she is covered by medical malpractice insurance. It also does away with the primary source verification which was required if a doctor wanted to work with DHCC.

Investors and professionals had earlier complained that the licensing process was slow, even as demand for doctors increased.  


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