New institute to launch innovative cancer detection system

The first project of a new research centre in the UAE is to help launch a revolu-tionary cancer detection system.

The newly-opened Abu Dhabi-based Zayed Institute for Research and Technology, in partnership with HTTP Technology, will be testing the system in hospitals throughout the country. Similar tests will also be carried out simultaneously in hospitals in the UK.

The Medicsight system will allow doctors to detect cancer at a much earlier stage than if they were simply looking at a medical scan.

The system’s software analyses computerised axial tomography (CAT) scans of the lungs and automatically detects and highlights suspected cancerous nodules, which can barely be seen with the naked eye.

The computer system was developed by a founder member of the institute, Dr Sabbir Rahman.

Though doctors are unlikely to call for a biopsy on finding an abnormality of a couple of millimetres, the system, using ten different metrics, will be able to help determine whether it is potentially life threatening.

The system could also be used in remote diagnosis. Scans can be sent to a hospital with the Medicsight system via computer and simply sent back again after being analysed.

The system is also being developed to analyse MRI scans of the brain and heart.




Emergency centre to be one of best in the world

The biggest emergency centre outside North America is now up and running in Saudi Arabia.

The King Abdul Aziz Medical City in Riyadh is equipped with the most advanced medical equipment available.

It also boasts an emergency department consisting of 15 beds, plus 25 examination rooms for adults and 25 for
children. There is also an x-ray department, clinical observation ward and lecture halls.

Medical and technical staff at the centre were sent abroad to receive the best training in emergency medicine.

There will even be a consultant in emergency medicine and 12 specialist doctors based at the centre. The centre was built and furnished at a cost of SR40 million.




Innovative organ donation scheme proves unsuccessful

A scheme to encourage more Jordan residents to donate organs after their death has made no impact.

A year ago, the country’s Passport and Civil Status Department allocated a special page for organ donation in every family book, but not one family has since registered their name as willing donors.

In Jordan, about 98 per cent of donations are made by living people, while just just two per cent come from those declared brain dead.

The idea of the scheme was to ensure families could not prevent organs from their deceased loved ones being
used for operations. Even though many people requested that their organs be used for this purpose after their death, there was previously no legal document and families often stepped in to prevent the wishes of the deceased being carried out.

Poor promotion of the scheme has been blamed on the disappointing response.

It is thought about 2,500 Jordanians are in need of cornea transplant, while more than 1,000 could benefit from a kidney donation.



Jordan medicine set to go on sale in the UK

A medicine made in Jordan is set to go on sale in the United Kingdom for the first time.

The wide-spectrum antibiotic Amoclan, a second-generation amoxicillin, has been produced by Hikma Pharmaceuticals, which also exports to the United States of America.

The development is particularly pleasing to the company and the country, as the requirements of the United Kingdom health authorities and medicine control agencies are reputed to be among the toughest in the world.

United Pharmaceutical Company Limited, another big player in the industry in Jordan, is currently exporting to Germany, another country that has very strict regulations when it comes to selling medicine.



Pharmaceutical council set up

Pharmacists in Jordan have praised a decision to set up a Higher Pharmaceutical Council to monitor the registration and manufacture of drugs.

The move was taken to reduce the Ministry of Health’s annual budget and to protect the market from poor quality medicines and drugs.



New cancer centre is planned for hospital

The Ministry of Health in Oman is planning to set up a new centre for the treatment of cancer patients.

Tenders for the building of the centre at the Royal Hospital, Muscat, will be announced by the end of the year.

Minister of Health, Dr Ali Mohammed bin Moosa, said it was important for good healthcare system to offer easy
access to specialised fields of care.

There are currently 110 health centres in Oman, as well as nine health complexes and 47 hospitals. As part of Five Year Plan in the country, another 17 health centres and nine health complexes are being built.

A number of other plans to improve the health service are also in the pipeline. Dr Moosa has also outlined the need to replace expatriate medical staff with nationals.



Oman national health system tops survey

Oman has come top in a prestigious survey of national health systems.

The Sultanate’s health system was ranked higher than almost 200 others throughout the world. Saudi Arabia also made the top ten.

The survey, conducted by the World Health Organisation, measured the life expectancy of each country against the amount spent in resources per head of population between 1993 and 1997.

Oman’s top spot was put down to its dramatic reduction in child mortality during the last 40 years.

Researchers did, however, stress that the survey only charted efficiency, in other words, what each country got out of what it put in. It therefore meant some countries that ended lower than others in the league table might still offer better healthcare.

The next six countries after Oman were all based in the Mediterranean area and researchers believed their
success had as much to with the diets of the people, as the health systems of the countries. The bottom ten
places were all filled African countries.



UAE expatriates are now going private

A survey in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah has showed that the number of expatriates seeking treatment at public hospitals has dropped sharply.

In May, the Ministry of Health announced expatriates would have to pay for medical services and medicines.
It has resulted in many now going to private hospitals to seek treatment.

A similar drop in the number of expatriates visiting public hospitals and medical centres has also been reported in other emirates. In Ras Al Khaimah, the figure has decreased by about 50 per cent since the charges were imposed.



Diabetes on the increase in Arab countries

A survey has revealed that diabetes in Arab countries is on the increase.

Saudi Arabia has the highest rate of diabetic patients, with 14 per cent of the population affected by the disease in some way.

Other countries were not too far behind, according to the Saudi survey, with Kuwait recording a rate of almost 12 per cent. Jordan recorded 10, Oman 9.8, Egypt 9.3 and Bahrain 8.9.

Unhealthy eating habits, lack of exercise and heredi-tary factors were blamed on the increase in recent years.

The survey concluded that by the year 2010, the number of diabetics worldwide is expected to reach 220 million.



Free kidney dialysis treatment

Patients at government hospitals throughout the United Arab Emirates are now entitled to free kidney dialysis
treatment.

The decree was made to help increase the number of healthcare services that are available without charge to residents in the country.

Patients previously had to pay Dhs50 for their kidney dialysis session or about five times this amount if they did not have a valid Health Card.



Endoscopic first for surgeons

Surgeons in Jeddah have become the first in Saudi Arabia to carry out two ground-breaking endoscopic operations.

The two endoscopy hysterectomy operations were performed by a team of surgeons at the prestigious King Khalid National Guard Hospital.

This complicated operation, which has caused a revolution in surgery, had not previously been performed by Saudi team.



Campaign to highlight the risks of osteoporosis

A campaign in Jordan has been trying to make middle-aged women more aware of the risk of osteoporosis.

A survey conducted in Ein Al Basha, a town outside Amman, revealed that 15 per cent of women over the age of 49 suffer from osteoporosis.

A further 42 per cent were also at risk of developing the disease.

These high figures have been put down to various factors, including poor diets, obesity and the over-use of
corticosteroids to treat joint problems.

Calls have been made to the Health Ministry and other interested organisations to create a national register on the exact number of cases in the Kingdom.

This could then be used to set up a plan to improve the situation, which would include a call for early diagnosis to help facilitate treatment.

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