One of the leading news stories
in the healthcare arena now is the release of the Global Burden
of Disease report by The Lancet. The report stems from a massive
collaborative study bringing together 1870 independent experts in
127 countries and territories to provide the most up-to-date analysis
on the state of the world’s health. Overall, the report shows that,
globally, people’s health is improving, but warns that this improvement
is not universal. We give an overview of the report and provide
a specific focus on the Middle East region.
Also in this issue, we report
on the recent WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Committee’s 63rd
annual meeting in Cairo. Topping a full agenda at the meeting of
health ministers and leading stakeholders in regional healthcare
were the issues of health security and emergency response to regional
health crises. As Dr Ala Alwan, WHO Regional Director, Eastern Mediterranean
Region, pointed out: “Viruses know no borders. This led us, as a
region, to take a major role in the past year in pushing for global
harmonization of the independent assessment process and a new globally
agreed-upon mechanism” to provide health security. The organisation’s
efforts to provide healthcare assistance to millions of people displaced
by war in Yemen, Syria and Iraq has proved challenging. Speaking
at the opening session WHO’s Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan,
spoke out strongly against the continued indiscriminate bombing
of healthcare facilities in these countries, saying it “must stop.
Nothing sets hard-won health gains backwards so dramatically as
humanitarian crises on this scale”.
In the United Kingdom report
we look briefly at some of the innovative products British companies
will be bringing to Dubai for the annual Arab Heath exhibition in
January. We also report on the recently opened Francis Crick Institute
in London which is set to push the boundaries of medical research.
In a broad interview, we speak
to Dr Zohair Sebai, a founding father of Saudi Arabia’s public health
sector, about public health in the kingdom, then and now.
As usual we cover a wide range
of medical news from the region and the world, as well as new research
emanating from leading medical research institutions.