Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai wins top award

Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai (Moorfields), the first overseas branch of Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, was the winner of one of the top awards at the 11th World Health Tourism Congress (WHTC) 2016, presented at the gala awards ceremony held on 5 October at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City hotel. Moorfields was presented with the ‘International Eye Clinic of the Year’ award for 2016.

The 11th World Health Tourism Congress was held under the patronage of the Government of Dubai, Dubai Health Authority and Dubai Tourism Commercial Marketing. The congress brings together corporate purchasers of healthcare with world-class medical providers, including health authorities and major companies operating in the health tourism industry.

Receiving the award, David Probert, Chief Executive of Moorfields Eye Hospital, said: “I am delighted to receive this prestigious award on behalf of Moorfields. It is due recognition for the efforts of the entire team that has expanded and developed the hospital’s reach internationally in recent years, through our first branch hospital here in Dubai, and now our new facility in Abu Dhabi.”

Since opening in Dubai in 2007, Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai has treated more than 100,000 patients from more than 180 countries, as well as local and regional patients. Moorfields also puts a strong emphasis on research and teaching, which are part of the hospital’s overall mission.

Doha International Academy for Organ Donation launched

The Doha International Forum for Organ Donation organized by the Qatar Organ Donation Center at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) in October saw the launch of the world’s first international academy on the important issue of organ donation.

The Doha International Academy for Organ Donation will become a hub for resources and training materials necessary to assist other countries to establish their own programs.

The upcoming facility will be launched under the umbrella of HMC and will utilize the expertise of distinguished international faculty to promote education and research in organ donation in Qatar and internationally.

The launch saw a distinguished group of six international leaders in organ donation and transplantation pledge their support for the Academy and further support HMC’s goal to achieve self-sufficiency in organ donation.

The panel included renowned scientists and researchers from the United States, Australia, United Kingdom and Europe who met with senior leaders at HMC and discussed operational strategies and policies that will underpin the work of the Doha International Academy for Organ Donation.

Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, the Minister of Public Health said Qatar’s organ donation program, with a unified national waiting list, had become a model forother countries to emulate.

“With fairness and equity at its heart, our program has been recognized internationally and is something we can be proud of,” said Dr Al Kuwari. “Qatar’s national strategy for organ transplantation is not only world-leading in terms of the clinical and ethical standards it applies, but also one that is appropriate to the healthcare needs of our growing country and our diverse population.”

Dr. Yousuf Al Maslamani, Medical Director of Hamad General Hospital and Director of the Organ Transplant Center, said the Academy will bolster Qatar’s current organ donation and transplantation programs and support plans for its expansion.

“The Academy, with its group of eminent advisors, will also empower our mission to become a centre of excellence for organ donation both regionally and internationally,” Dr Al Maslamani said. Dr Abdulla Al Ansari HMC’s Deputy Chief, Medical, Academic and Research Affairs for Surgical Services said it was a very exciting time for Qatar’s program.

“We are certain that the Academy will support Qatar to achieve self-sufficiency in organ donation to meet the needs of the patients locally,” he said. “At the same time will have a wider impact on the region by being a hub for collaborative research, education and training in the field of organ donation.”

Dr Dominique Martin, Senior Lecturer in Health Ethics at Deakin University in Australia said that Qatar had demonstrated that a small country can deliver on its vision for a safe and fair organ donation program.

“The program of organ donation and transplantation is inclusive of all people living in Qatar, regardless of their nationality, race, gender, income status, social background. It is this spirit of equity and inclusion that is the idea behind the Academy,” Dr Martin said.

Donors pledge $12.9bn to Global Fund

At the launch of the Global Fund’s Fifth Replenishment, donors pledged overUS$12.9 billion for the next three years, demonstrating extraordinary global commitment toward ending the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria for good.

The Global Fund also welcomed the first contribution by Qatar to the partnership, a pledge of $10 million.

Dr Hanan Mohammad Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health, Qatar, made the pledge during the Global Fund’s Fifth Replenishment Conference in September, which was hosted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Montreal. World leaders and partners from governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases gathered to secure funding for the coming three years.

“Fighting TB and providing access to health services to refugees and displaced populations in the Middle East region are an important priority for Qatar,” said Minister Al Kuwari.

The Replenishment Conference raised nearly $1 billion more than the previous replenishment conference in 2013, and benefitted from participation by leaders from countries all over the world, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The United States led the pledging with $4.3 billion, approximately one-third of total funding. The United Kingdom pledged £1.1 billion, the second-largest pledge for this replenishment period; France pledged 1.08 billion, maintaining their position as the second-largest donor to the Global Fund overall.

Germany pledged 800 million, a 33 percent increase; Japan pledged US$800 million, effectively a 46 percent increase when measured in Japanese yen.

Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund, thanked Minister Al Kuwari and the people of Qatar, saying the contribution demonstrates a commitment to shared responsibility for global health.

“Qatar is choosing engagement rather than isolation,” said Dr Dybul. “Their investment will support programs that save millions of lives, improve access to quality health services and promote opportunity and social justice.”

In the Middle East, programs supported by the Global Fund provide essential HIV, TB and malaria services to key and vulnerable populations including refugees, internally displaced people, women, children and other populations in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Yemen.

Programs supported by the Global Fund have saved 20 million lives since 2002, and averted 146 million new infections since 2012. The Global Fund has also helped stimulate an additional $6 billion in domestic investments in health by lowand middle-income countries in the most recent three-year period.

“We can end these epidemics for good, if we accelerate our efforts and continue to bring in new partners,” said Prime Minister Trudeau.

Trudeau’s remarks at the conference embodied a spirit of compassion and commitment to work across borders and find solutions to significant global challenges, like ending AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics.

Polio immunization in Iraq

On World Polio Day on 24 October, Iraq’s Ministry of Health, with support from UNICEF and the World Health Organization, launched a weeklong nationwide campaign to immunize Iraq’s children against polio.

Under the slogan “two drops can change a life,” the 5-day campaign aimed to reach an estimated 5.8 million children under the age of 5 in Iraq, regardless of previous vaccination status.

“The Government of Iraq is committed to polio eradication, and conducted 16 campaigns to that end in 2014 and 2015 as part of the Middle East polio outbreak response,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Iraq Peter Hawkins.

Since April 2014, no new polio cases have been reported in Iraq, thanks to the Government’s strong commitment and the hard work of frontline workers. In May 2015, Iraq was removed from the list of infected countries.

However, the risks of a resurgence persist due to possible surveillance and immunization coverage gaps among Iraq’s displaced populations as well as those living in inaccessible areas and informal settlements.

“There is still a risk of polio returning to Iraq,” said WHO Representative to Iraq, Altaf Musani. “Polio transmission is ongoing in Pakistan and Afghanistan and new cases of polio have also been confirmed in Nigeria,” he said. “Until transmission is stopped globally, we need to maintain high levels of vaccination coverage and keep surveillance systems strong, to be on the alert for the virus,” he added.

The Iraq Polio partnership conducted 2 national immunization rounds in February and April this year, reaching over 91% of the targeted population.

This most month’s vaccination campaign will be conducted by the Iraqi Ministry of Health (with support from WHO and UNICEF, with special attention to the most vulnerable children in internally displaced persons (IDPs) and Syrian refugee camps, informal settlements, host affected communities and newly retaken areas. More than 25000 vaccinators will go from house to house during the campaign, visiting families.

WHO covered the operational cost, intra and post campaign monitoring, while UNICEF provided support for focused social mobilization services. In coordination with the Federal Ministry of Health, the Kurdistan Regional Government Ministry of Health, Zain and Korek Telecommunications Company contributed to the social mobilization and communications campaign with a focus on IDPs.

Meanwhile, commenting on the successes of the polio eradication program in the Middle East, said Chris Maher, manager of WHO’s regional polio eradication group based in Amman, said: “The continued efforts of governments, partners and communities to protect children in the Middle East from polio have been truly remarkable. But we are not out of the woods yet. Polio continues to circulate in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and recently made a comeback in Nigeria, and so long as there is transmission anywhere,children in the Middle East remain at risk,” he added. “We cannot afford to be complacent; we must ensure systems are strong enough to keep polio out of the region, until the job is finished in all parts of the world.”

Anirban Chatterjee, the chief of Health and Nutrition in UNICEF Regional office for MENA, added: “Polio resurged in Syria in 2013 and Iraq in 2014, after 14 years of absence in the Middle East. An 18-month multi-country, multi-partner outbreak response, including more than 50 rounds of polio campaigns, successfully stopped the spread of the virus and again made the Middle East polio-free. It is now essential to strengthen routine immunization in all countries in the region and focus on high risk areas to ensure every child is vaccinated, to prevent future outbreaks.”

UAE MoH runs mental health awareness campaign

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention launched an awareness campaign on mental health and related disorders under the slogan ‘Live Life.’ Running from October 10 to 17, 2016 in conjunction with the World Mental Health Day, the campaign was unveiled during a Ministry-organized ceremony attended by Dr Youssif Al Serkal, Assistant Undersecretary for the Ministry of Health and Prevention Hospitals Sector; Dr Muna Al Kuwari, Director of the Ministry’s Specialized Healthcare and the National Mental Health Program; and representatives of various local health agencies and institutions.

The campaign aimed to raise awareness of mental disorders, specifically anxiety and depression, which are relatively common disorders, according to research, as well as clarify the vision and objectives of the MOHAP National Mental Health Programme and what has been achieved to date as well as to clarify current projects and future plans.

The awareness campaign included lectures and distribution of booklets about depression and anxiety, as well as a screening survey for anxiety and depression in Primary Health Care centres, commercial centres and universities. A mediacampaign targeting local newspapers, radio, television and social media was also launched as part of the seven-day awareness program.

Dr Al Serkal said that the strategic plan of the National Mental Health Programme aimed to provide comprehensive high quality mental health services that are based on evidence and best practice, as well as the development of community psychiatric services for patients with chronic conditions. The mental health program is based on key policies, legislations, and programs and is a result of effective local and global partnerships. This strategy is aligned with the government’s initiative to improve the quality of life in the country and bring happiness to UAE citizens and residents.

Dr Al Serkal announced that Al Amal Hospital has opened a new unit offering community psychiatric services. The hospital-based community mental health team provides regular home visits for chronic patients with frequent relapses, elderly patients with dementia and patients incapable of attending health facilities to provide medical care, psychological counseling and social and family support.

Dr Al Serkal added that a Day Care Center will be opened to provide comprehensive psychosocial and occupational rehabilitation programs for patients with chronic mental illness.

Dr Hussein Abdel-Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry’s Health & Prevention Assistant for Health Centers and Clinics Sector, said the Ministry has started integration of mental health services into primary healthcare facilities to ensure patients’ physical and mental well-being. The Ministry is actively encouraging scientific research, the development of an efficient information technology system, and the establishment of a statistical database on mental health illnesses.

WHO releases funds to combat cholera in Yemen

The ongoing conflict in Yemen has left two thirds of Yemenis without access to clean water and sanitation services are limited,especially in cities, which has led to an outbreak cholera. The risk of catching cholera is further aggravated by a decline in the national health system’s capacity to respond to the outbreak due to critical shortages in resources. As of October 2016, only 45% of all health facilities in Yemen remain functional due to shortages in health staff, medicines and medical supplies.

In response to this crisis, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released approximately US$1 million from its internal emergency funds to support the ongoing response to the cholera outbreak.

Since the outbreak was announced by Yemen’s Ministry of Public Health and Population on 6 October, a total of 1184 suspected cases of cholera, including 6 deaths, have been reported. 47 cases have tested positive for Vibrio cholerae. However, a chronic lack of funding for Yemen is impeding action by WHO and health partners to effectively control and respond to the current outbreak.

These new funds, provided by WHO’s Contingency Fund for Emergencies and the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Emergency Solidarity Fund, will allow WHO to rapidly scale-up priority response activities to effectively monitor and control the outbreak by:

  • continuing to scale-up WHO and national surveillance interventions
  • enhancing diagnosis capacity by providing essential support to laboratories
  • increasing the number of diarrhoea/ cholera treatment centres
  • training national staff on case definition and management
  • pre-positioning medical supplies in high-risk areas
  • organizing health education campaigns among at-risk populations.

More than 7.6 million people are currently living in the areas affected by the outbreak, and more than 3 million internally displaced persons are especially vulnerable. Without a sustained response, cases of acute watery diarrhoea/cholera are likely to increase, with predictions of up to 76,000 additional cases across 15 governorates, including 15,200 severe cases requiring admission for cholera treatment.



Date of upload: 16th Nov 2016

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