Corniche Hospital doctor honored for his contribution

Bashir Salih, chief of obstetric medicine at Corniche Hospital, Abu Dhabi, has been awarded a prestigious honorary fellowship by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) of the United Kingdom. The Fellowship of the College is presented to a select number of nonmembers in acknowledgment of their extraordinary leadership in the advancement of the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology.

Ron Lavater, Corniche Hospital’s CEO, said: “The RCOG fellowship recognises Dr Salih’s unsurpassed contribution to patient care in the UAE and beyond. Our medical centre is proud of his strong leadership and his contribution to modern obstetric medicine that has brought him this deserving recognition.”

Dr Salih said: “This fellowship is truly humbling. Having been an associate member of the RCOG for many years, I am honoured to be accepted as a fellow of this esteemed institution. I believe such acknowledgements will motivate more consultants to work towards even greater achievements in women’s healthcare services.”

Tawam doctor calls for wider use of pulse oximetry in screening newborns for CHD

Tawam Hospital, in Al Ain, UAE, in affiliation with Johns Hopkins Medicine, has revealed data from its one-year ‘Newborn Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Diseases’ programme, which screened 98% of eligible infants (4,473), born at Tawam Hospital in 2011, using the non-invasive and cost-effective Pulse Oximetry method.

Tawam Hospital, the first to adopt this programme in the UAE, revealed that between 1 January and 31 December 2011, 1% of tested newborns were diagnosed with congenital heart disease (CHD) while 0.3-0.5% of newborns were diagnosed with critical congenital heart disease (CCHD). Dr Mohamed Hamdan, consultant and head of paediatric cardiology at Tawam Hospital, stressed that CHD is the most common congenital anomaly in newborns.

“Nearly half of the babies with CHD have ‘critical’ lesions which require medical or surgical intervention in the first week after they are born. If these lesions are not detected early, there is a significant risk of death or bad neuro-developmental outcome. We have applied the Pulse Oximetry method because other current methods of detection, including foetal echocardiography, can miss up to 50% of cases, resulting in diagnosis being missed before newborns are discharged from hospital, Dr Hamdan said.

DNA Health to set up wellness centre on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat island

US-based DNA Health has signed a leasing agreement with Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), the master developer of Saadiyat Island, to establish an integrative medicine and wellness centre within The Collection retail complex at the five-star St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort Abu Dhabi.

Affiliated with the GW Center for Integrative Medicine in Washington DC, Saadiyat Island’s ‘DNA Center for Integrative Medicine & Wellness’ is due to open early next year. Designed as the company’s global flagship, the centre will offer a new model of family health care based on a holistic approach uniting Western and Eastern medicine.

Blood clot linked to gene mutation

Mafraq Hospital, in Abu Dhabi, has revealed that nearly one in five patients diagnosed with blood clots at the facility over the past two and a half years carried a genetic protein mutation known as Factor V Leiden. The protein mutation is an abnormal version of a blood protein and is considered one of the most common genetic risk factors for blood clotting.

Dr Mohamed Yaman, chief medical officer at Mafraq Hospital, said: “Those testing positive for Factor V Leiden are at a higher risk for embolism (dislodged blood clots) and resulting complications, including stroke, heart attack, and even death.”

Dr Anwar Sallam, deputy chief medical officer at Mafraq Hospital, added: “By screening for this mutation, our team of hemaopathologists is able to identify atrisk patients and educate them before a serious problem occurs. At Mafraq Hospital, we believe strongly in the power of proactive patient care and the subsequent effect it has on improved quality of life, reduced medical costs and enhanced medical care.”

Philips hosts cardiovascular health workshop in Iraq

Royal Philips Electronics hosted a weeklong educational workshop in Iraq on cardiovascular disease, which is the second leading cause of death in the country.

High levels of smoking and physical inactivity increase the risk of developing the condition in both men and women in Iraq, where 59.5% of men and 62.3% of women are at a higher risk of heart disease due to their weight.

UAE fertility clinic announces expansion of services

HealthPlus, a network of premium outpatient centres owned and managed by United Eastern Medical Services (UEMedical), has announced plans to expand the existing services of its Fertility Center in Abu Dhabi and invest Dh8.5 million in IVF services in Al Ain.

The expansion will see a doubling of capacity from 500 square meters to over 1,000 square meters, with an additional operating theatre.

Abu Dhabi ambulatory services receives JCI accreditation

Ambulatory Healthcare Services (AHS), a part of the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), has become the first organisation in the world to achieve the ‘network accreditation’ from Joint Commission International (JCI).

In a recent move, the accreditation, which until now was granted to individual healthcare facilities, is now offered to entire healthcare networks.

The endorsement was achieved for AHS’ compliance with JCI Ambulatory Standards across 20 of its healthcare centres, five disease prevention and screening centres and three mobile clinic solutions.

Rashid Saif Al Qubaisi, CEO of AHS, said: “This achievement represents a dramatic turning point and is the most important initiative undertaken by the AHS since becoming a part the Abu Dhabi Company for Health Services (SEHA) almost four years ago.”

Siemen’s welcomes new CEO

Siemens has appointed a new chief executive officer for the company’s operations in the UAE.

Kay Zwingenberger will continue to drive Siemens’ growth strategy, expand the company’s local footprint and push ahead with research initiatives as well as technology and knowledge transfer, said the company.

Kay Zwingenberger first joined Siemens in 1992, spearheading the development of the Siemens Healthcare sector in Ukraine and heading up the Healthcare sector for Siemens in Russia. During his three-year tenure in Russia, the company’s business volume trebled on the back of several largescale contract wins. He was subsequently appointed CEO for Central Asia with responsibility for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Based in Almaty, Kazakhstan, he oversaw the company’s continuous growth against difficult economic conditions in the region.

Abu Dhabi Medical Distinction Awards taking nominations

The Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), the regulatory body of Abu Dhabi’s healthcare sector is accepting nominations for their Abu Dhabi Medical Distinction Awards until 18 October this year.

The HAAD award website has been updated and the electronic nomination process has been enhanced through a convenient online submission.

All nominees will be assessed in accordance with the established criteria driven from the following themes: delivering a high quality service; developing a high quality service; managing a high quality service; contributions through teaching, training and research; leadership; innovation; and UAE relevance. The criteria have been revised and peer reviewed by an independent academic institution.

Dr Mohammed Bader Al Seiari, executive director of Abu Dhabi Medical Distinctions Awards, said: “We encourage healthcare facilities to recognise their healthcare professionals for their outstanding achievements by nominating them. We also encourage healthcare professionals who believe that they have contributed to the development of the healthcare system in the emirate of Abu Dhabi to apply for the awards. We advise all nominees to pay close attention to the terms and conditions of the awards which are available for reviewing on the award website.”

Based on the scoring rank of the evaluation, 20 winners will be announced from all awards categories except for the Lifetime Achievement Awards which will be dedicated for an honorary process.

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Healthcare professionals urged to reverse declining rates of breastfeeding in the region

In a trend that could have an adverse impact on the health of infants, fewer women in the region are opting to breastfeed their babies, participants at a Continuing Medical Education (CME) programme in Abu Dhabi’s Burjeel Hospital heard recently.

According to the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics: since 1991 the number of mothers in the Middle East who continue to breastfeed at the advisable rate has declined – making it the only major region of the world to register a decline in breastfeeding. Figures show that in 1996, around 33% of infants in the region were breastfed until at least five months of age, by 2006 that figure had dropped to less than 25%.

The statistics for the UAE reveal that while an average 88% of new mothers start to breastfeed their infants at birth, only 31% continue until the babies reach five months of age. Thereafter, around 27% of mothers continue to breastfeed but mix it with bottle feeding.

Studies show that full breastfeeding of infants for at least four months would avoid 56% of hospital admissions for babies less than a year old. Moreover, a further 30% of hospitalisation cases for babies can be avoided with every additional month of full breastfeeding.

In the light of these startling facts, Dr Eeva Lisa Langille, MD, consultant pediatrician, emphasized the importance of breastfeeding to participants in Burjeel’s CME programme, dedicating an entire session to the topic “Breastfeeding in a baby friendly hospital”.

She called on healthcare personnel to reinforce the message of breastfeeding and continue advising new mothers on the process.

Dr Langille said an important factor preventing a mother in the region from breastfeeding was the lack of confidence that her milk would be enough for the baby. Moreover, there was no empowerment of the mother by her advisors, who often advocated the use of “some formula milk” right from the start.

Dr Langille said there a numerous misconceptions regarding expressing a mother’s own milk and using that as extra milk when needed. She said continued stimulation of the breast would make for better and easier milk flow for the baby, leading to uninterrupted use of the same milk that the baby is genetically most comfortable with.

Wooridul performs UAE’s first percutaneous endoscopic cervical discectomy

Wooridul Spine Centre, a collaboration between Wooridul Hospital and Mubadala Healthcare, has successfully completed of the UAE’s first percutaneous endoscopic cervical discectomy (PECD), a minimally invasive spine surgery used to treat cervical disc herniation diseases.

World-renowned neuro spinal surgeon and medical director at Wooridul Spine Centre in Dubai, Dr Chan-Shik Shim, used the surgery to treat 40-year old Naomi Belinda Carr Sutherland, a Dubai resident who had been suffering from severe neck and shoulder pain for a number of years.

“Prior to my surgery, I had recurring episodes of extreme pain and limited range of motion due to a compressed nerve in my spinal disc. [Following the surgery] my life has been completely transformed. I am now free from discomfort and I can finally live a normal pain-free life,” said Naomi Sutherland.

The advanced PECD procedure uses a very small tube (around 5mm in diameter) and laser to remove portions of the patient’s spinal disc that press on nerves or other parts of spinal cord. It helped relieve Naomi from pain, removed the weakness she felt in her left arm and has helped prevent any further nerve defects. Her recuperation period was extremely fast due to the short operation and hospitalization period and the minimally invasive nature of the procedure.

Egyptian MoH pegs medicine prices to international rate

IRIN reports in July that a decision by the Egyptian Health Ministry to peg local medicine prices to international ones is causing concern. “This is a catastrophic decision,” Karima Al Hefnawy, a member of local NGO the Independent Right to Health Committee, told IRIN. “Egypt is a lowincome country, which means that linking local medicine prices with international ones will cause suffering to the poor.”

Only about 30% of Egyptians have health insurance, according to a recent estimate by the NGO. Hitherto, medicine prices were set by the ministry, sometimes at much lower prices than the manufacturing cost, leading some suppliers to go out of business.

Another local NGO, The Medical Association, says of the US$10 billion spent on health last year, only about a third came from the government. The government has allocated $4 billion, or 4.8% of Egypt’s total budget in fiscal year 2012-2013, to the health sector. This, experts say, means that individuals will continue to foot most of the health bill in the new fiscal year.

Chairman of the Health Ministry’s medicine sector Mohsen Abdelaleem rejected the concerns, saying the higher prices would allow more pharmaceutical companies to stay in business, making medicines more widely available.

Methodist International and Oman’s Sultan Qaboos Hospital sign MoU

Methodist International, the global subsidiary of The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, USA and Sultan Qaboos University Hospital (SQUH) in the Sultanate of Oman have signed a memorandum of understanding to improve patient care through a series of programmes, including clinical collaboration, education and training, and advisory services.

“Methodist International has gone beyond providing only clinical services, introducing the new concept of providing high quality and safe patient health care services combined with evidence-based medical education,” said Ahmed Al- Mandhari, Director General of Sultan Qaboos University Hospital in Oman. “Signing the contract between SQUH and Methodist International is a step forward aimed at developing SQUH staff capacity in various fields of medicine, as well as learning from the wealth of experience of Methodist. Ultimately, this will boost the momentum SQUH is taking towards improving the level of services it provides in all spheres.”

Sultan Qaboos University Hospital is a tertiary academic institution in Oman that was launched in February 1990 by His Majesty, the Sultan of Oman. The institution has gained the trust of the community in terms of providing high quality comprehensive health care services coupled with its academic role for medical and nursing students as well as postgraduate medical programmes candidates.

Cathy Easter, President and CEO of Methodist International stated: “With our common interests in leading medicine through superior patient care, our two organisations can now work together toward improving medicine for the Oman region. This cutting edge programme will allow for an international exchange in both medical technologies and knowledge. Physicians, administrators, and other personnel will share their educational and clinical experiences, as well as best practices.”

In addition, Methodist consultative services will include benchmarking feasibility evaluation, collaboration on quality educational conferences, joint research projects in quality and patient safety, and assistance in international accreditation. SQUH will also undergo education and training through on-site observership or externship programmes at The Methodist Hospital.


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