Children make up 35% of casualties in Aleppo

In a statement issued by Save the Children on 29 July 2016, aid workers in Aleppo have reported horrific conditions for casualties and health workers, with limb amputations and head trauma the most prevalent injuries after weeks of heavy bombardment in the now besieged eastern part of the city.

The field coordinator for Shafak, an NGO which runs a network of ambulances around the city, estimated that children comprise about 35 percent of all casualties. He also reported that the death rate, particularly among child casualties, is rising because they can no longer evacuate patients with head injuries to Turkey as they would have done previously due to the siege.

According to the Save the Children partner, hospitals are completely overwhelmed and ambulances are running out of fuel, so they can now only attend the scenes of major airstrikes. They also report that it’s too dangerous to attempt to leave the city and there is bombing and violence along the supposed safe routes out, although we cannot independently verify these reports at this stage.

Rami, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, said: “Life in Aleppo city is becoming more like living next to an active volcano... you don’t know when you’ll be killed. It’s the first time in the last four years where we see this kind of bombardment and destruction. Especially when they [children] hear the sound of an explosion or the jetfighter, they start screaming, hugging you and crying.

“Imagine the emergency room in any of the field hospitals doesn’t have more than five or six beds, and when responding to a massacre they receive up to 30- 40 injured at the same time. So most of the patients are treated on the floor of the hospital... and of course all this is getting worse because of the intense bombardment with the lack of the staff and equipment.”

Rami reported previously attending the scene of an airstrike, and finding children buried beneath the rubble. “A child less than ten years old ran to me shouting ‘sir please put my arm back.’ His left arm was amputated and he held it with his right hand. He was begging me to put it back, and this is only one of so many tragedies that we see.”

Sonia Khush, Syria Director for Save the Children, said: “The situation for an estimated 100,000 children trapped under siege and bombardment in Aleppo is desperate and needs our urgent help. The world cannot turn its back while children are bombed and then denied medical treatment – we need an end to the indiscriminate attacks on civilians and immediate and unfettered access for humanitarian aid.

“A permanent ceasefire and an end to the siege must be the first priority. ‘Humanitarian corridors’ are not humanitarian if they are enforced against the population’s will and are used as an excuse to continue a siege against civilians, which deprives children of food, water, electricity and medical care.”

AUBMC to install Epic electronic health record system

The Lebanese National News Agency reports that the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) will transition to the Epic electronic health record system (EHR). The announcement was made, during a signing ceremony held on August 1, 2016 at AUB-New York Office.

AUBMC will become the first Medical Center to adopt the newest generation and most advanced Electronic Health Record System in Lebanon. This will be a major leap forward to AUBMC in achieving its 2020 Vision and delivering the most advanced patient care to its patients.

The integrated health information system will allow seamless sharing of information among all health units, patients and partner hospitals, setting new standards of care delivery.

In addition to streamlining work flow, reducing the risk of errors, while maintaining the patient’s security and confidentialmiddleity, the platform will provide a number of benefits to patients travelling to multiple medical offices and hospital locations. Care Everywhere, Epic’s EHR-based interoperability network supports the secure exchange of patient information between sites and EpicLink allows approved affiliates to view the record online to enhance consistency and accuracy. Other benefits involve best practice alerts, the ability to identify health trends or issues with a particular medication, and early detection of a disease outbreak in the community.

Government to offer full medical cover for retirees in Lebanon

Wael Abou Faour, Lebanon’s Public Health Minister announced on July 19 that the government plans to offer comprehensive medical coverage for persons above 65 years old, according to a report issued by Lebanon’s National News Agency. The minister said the project of full medical coverage for people over 65 years old, “does not need miracles, as we are talking about a budget of 17 billion Lebanese Pounds to raise those elderly people’s medical coverage from 85% to 100%”.

He added that “no Lebanese citizen would be banned from being admitted to hospital if in need, and no Lebanese citizen will be admitted if not in need”, adding that they will start implementing this step at all the hospitals immediately. He said that the ministry was working on setting a mechanism to control the transfer process from the private insurance companies to the Public Health Ministry.

Abou Faour noted that the Public Health Ministry supports the hospitals Syndicate request to raise the hospitals current tariff; however, he said the ministry had decided to cover people who do not have medical coverage instead of raising the current tariff of the hospitals, thus making it up for all hospitals.

Ali Hassan Khalil, Lebanese Finance Minister, in turn warned that when the medical coverage is free, consumers will be tempted to abuse it and that they should be very attentive of this.

HMC’s Smoking Cessation Clinic receives hundreds of smokers during Ramadan

Hundreds of visitors who are willing to quit tobacco smoking visited the Smoking Cessation Clinic at the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Qatar, during this year’s Ramadan, said Dr Ahmad Al Mulla, Senior Consultant Public Health and Head of the Clinic.

“We have received around 200 new patients seeking to quit their habits of tobacco use at our clinic during Ramadan. Usually, the number of people who are motivated to quit smoking increases in Ramadan because fasting requires abstinence from smoking in addition to refraining from food and drink during the day. So the figure we have recorded for this year is almost similar to previous years in Ramadan,” said Dr Al Mulla.

Fasting in the holy month of Ramadan presents a great opportunity for smokers to quit their habits.

Dr Al Mulla explained that nicotine, which is the addictive substance in tobacco products, is as addictive as any other hard drug such as cocaine and heroin. He stressed further that carbon monoxide – another component of tobacco products is a poisonous gas emitted from tobacco smoking. “This gas replaces oxygen in the blood and as such causes shortness of breath and in severe cases can cause dizziness. These components pose a major threat on the health of a smoker and people around them who are exposed to second-hand smoke (SHS),” he said.

According to the American Cancer Society, SHS is also called environmental tobacco smoke. It’s a mixture of two forms of smoke that come from burning tobacco: mainstream smoke (the smoke exhaled by a smoker); and side stream smoke (smoke from the lighted end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, or tobacco burning in a hookah).

Acknowledging that it is difficult for many people to quit smoking, Dr Al Mulla encouraged seeking professional help, through HMC’s Smoking Cessation Clinic or primary healthcare centers, where patients can obtain advice, treatment and support from specialists to enable them to quit smoking permanently. The Smoking Cessation Clinic at HMC provides patients with ways to replace their nicotine consumption and cope with withdrawal symptoms, and supports patients throughout the process of quitting.

“Quitting smoking has various health benefits for a healthy individual and also for those with chronic conditions such as diabetes. For the diabetic, quitting smoking can result in improved blood sugar levels and blood circulation, increased insulin reception, decreased cholesterol levels, and decreased complications,” said Dr Al Mulla.

Exercising, drinking plenty of water and staying away from smokers are some steps that people can take to decrease the urge to smoke, according to Dr Al Mulla. Avoiding places such as shisha cafes and other areas frequented by smokers will also help prevent inhaling SHS.

Tar inhaled during smoking constitutes the main agent of causing several types of cancers. “Cigarette smoke contains more than 45 poisonous chemicals that can cause cancer,” said Dr Al Mulla.

The Smoking Cessation Clinic has held a number of interventional programs and introduced initiatives aimed at encouraging smokers to quit. “In addition to oneon- one counseling that we usually hold for persons willing to stop smoking, we also prescribe suitable medications that will help them cope and remain committed to quitting. We have also organized public awareness campaigns and lectures to highlight the dangers of smoking and advised on methods to quit,” he said adding: “We are planning more awareness campaigns in order to reach a much wider community as well as extend our clinical services to more HMC hospitals within the coming year.”

Islamic Advisory Group for Polio Eradication reaffirms commitment to work with Global Polio Eradication Initiative

A meeting to discuss polio eradication was hosted by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 27 July 2016, under the co-sponsorship of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA), Al Azhar Al Sharif and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), The Islamic Advisory Group for Polio Eradication (IAG). Following the meeting the Group issued the following statement.

The Group:

  1. Reaffirms its commitment to the global eradication of polio and reiterates its trust in the safety and effectiveness of all routine childhood vaccinations as a life-saving tool which protects children; and acknowledges that it fully conforms to Islamic rulings,
  2. Reiterates that parents are under religious obligation to seek immunization for their children against all vaccine preventable diseases, to protect both individual and community health,
  3. Welcomes the role of NIAGs in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia, acknowledging the need and opportunity for a unified voice which will benefit the health and well-being of children and families,
  4. Congratulates specifically the thousands of social and Islamic religious leaders, especially in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia who have helped bring the world to the brink of polio eradication and in doing so have protected thousands of vulnerable children who may otherwise have been paralyzed or died, and encourages these leaders to support any future activities in dealing with any outbreak from the disease,
  5. Commends the Governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan, who have embraced polio eradication as a national humanitarian duty and imperative, for their enhanced oversight and commitment to protect children from polio; and asks that this commitment is sustained further until polio eradication is achieved, and routine immunization coverage reaches globally recognized standards;
  6. Recognizes the excellent contribution of the media in informing public opinion to continue building public acceptance, trust, and support for polio eradication;
  7. Appreciates the great humanitarianwork done by vaccination teams against the disease and encourages cooperation, support, and respect for all health workers and their noble work; and appreciates the great sacrifices made by those workers for the protection of children from polio;
  8. Calls on all parties to provide safe access to children living in all areas, especially high risk areas, for the delivery of health services including vaccinations,
  9. Recognizes the need for this group to promote and influence better health outcomes for families, particularly mothers and children, and commits to expanding the scope of this Group to address other key mother and child health interventions,
  10. Acknowledges the significant financial support provided by countries, philanthropists, financial institutions, and the international community, and in particular the strong commitment of the Islamic Development Bank, and calls on these donors to continue their support for the programs that the Group has adopted,
  11. Re-affirms previous declarations and statements made by the IAG, and reiterates its willingness to work closely with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and other partners to reach every child wherever they are,
  12. Expresses its gratitude to the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its generous support to polio programs in the targeted countries, and for hosting the third meeting of the IAG

The Group recognizes the progress it has made and the impact it has left on polio affected and at-risk countries. It also points to the success it has achieved in implementing the work-plan of 2015- 2016, and commits to the adoption and full implementation of the 2016-2017 work-plan, including the maintenance of the excellent coordination of the IAG Secretariat, enhancing the strategic communication of IAG goals, activities and impact, as well as supporting religious leaders in priority countries through visits and interactions.

LIFEPharma to build oncology formulation plant in Abu Dhab

LIFEPharma, one of the region’s leading pharmaceutical manufacturing companies is set to strengthen the UAE’s profile as a leading pharmaceutical manufacturing hub. The company recently launched its first oncology formulation plant in the GCC region. The company’s new state-of-the art plant will be part of four facilities the company is setting up in the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD). LIFEPharma already has a large manufacturing facility in Jebel Al Free Zone in Dubai which caters to both local and overseas markets.

The manufacturing facility, which is scheduled for completion by the end of the first quarter next year, is the first oncology-based unit of its kind in the UAE and GCC. This plant will produce a range of medication for the treatment of cancer such as tablets, capsules, liquid and lyophilized injections and pre-filled syringe production lines for global consumption, with the approval of international agencies such as UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (UKNHRA) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).

Commenting on the launch of the oncology formulation plant, Dev Kumar Singh, President LIFEPharma, said: “According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer figures among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The international body has also predicted that annual cancer cases will rise from 14 million in 2012 to 22 million within the next two decades. These figures can see a drastic reduction with the right treatment. LIFEPharma has, therefore, decided to focus on this area and augment the global production of oncology drugs, thus ensuring that people all over the world have access to life-saving medication.

“This is the first manufacturing unit of its kind in the region and will help showcase the UAE’s growing profile as a leading pharmaceutical and medical hub.We are also setting up a research and development (R&D) centre for developing new products in the pharmaceutical segment. As there are no such R&D centres in the UAE, this will further boost the country’s pharmaceutical sector.”

“We are also the first pharmaceutical company from the UAE to file for ANDA (Abbreviated New Drug Application) in the US. This step will help get USFDA approval for the Jebel Ali Facility and once the oncology plant in KIZAD is ready will file the ANDA from there also, which will open the US market for our oncology products. The company has already signed commercial contracts with three partners in the US. We also work with companies such as Acino, Abbott Pharma, Apotex, Strides, Arrow, Chemo, Slate Run Pharma, Leading Pharma, Waymade and Helm in various markets in addition to more than 60 other partners in different countries across the world,” he added.

Saudi MoH plans to employ 100,000 Saudis in health sector

Arab News reports that the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health has begun an initiative to employ 100,000 Saudis in the health care sector as part of the Vision 2030 plan.

The newspaper reports that the MoH aims to fill health specialties with competitive and qualified staff. It will implement a performance measurement system and define specifications for health licenses as well as provide training opportunities by increasing the number of specialized seats. The ministry has partnered with specialized educational and academic establishments to help achieve this aim.

The total number of doctors and dentists in the Kingdom in 2015 was 81,532, of whom 19,029 were Saudis; 12,785 dentists; the number of people involved in nursing was 165,324 (37.2% Saudis); 22,241 pharmacists (20.6% Saudis) and the number of workers in assisting medical categories was 94,960, with 72.6% Saudis.



Date of upload: 13th Sep 2016

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