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Role of healthcare technology in fighting diabetes

Dubai Science Park (DSP), a science and healthcare-focused business community, hosted the 10th edition of its Advance Health forum to highlight how technology is transforming diabetes treatment and prevention in the UAE.

The relentless rise of disruptive technology is transforming healthcare systems around world and the role of health-tech in diabetes diagnosis continues to surge in proportion to this growth.

Organised in partnership with Connect Communications and Synapse Medical Services, Advance Health took place on January 29 at Arab Health.

It was chaired by Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi, Managing Director of Dubai Science Park and Chairing Member of the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Equipment Taskforce of the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030.

Speaking at the session, Janahi said: “Diabetes is on the rise and reducing the number of patients diagnosed each year is a priority not just in the UAE but globally. Dubai Science Park is proud to support innovative business partners who are using new technologies to diagnose and treat the disease. With modern offices, laboratories and warehouses, our ecosystem has advanced infrastructure and a business-friendly environment to help healthcare companies from multinational corporations to SMEs and startups contribute significantly to reducing diabetes prevalence.”

Janahi was joined at the panel discussion by Fatheya Al Awadi, Head of Endocrinology at Dubai Hospital, Scott Cunningham, Chief Technical Officer at MyWay Digital Health, Dr Nairah Rasul-Syed, Medical Director & Consultant at Virtual Home Healthcare Services, and Ben McGough, Digital Workstream Lead at the NHS Diabetes Programme.

According to the latest data from the International Diabetes Federation, more than 460 million people – one in 11 adults – suffer from diabetes. It is estimated that 19 per cent of the UAE population has diabetes, and if the current trend continues, 32 per cent of adults aged between 20 and 79 may have diabetes or prediabetes by the next decade in the country.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) ranked diabetes as the seventh-leading cause of death worldwide in 2016. The problem is particularly severe in the UAE – one of the world’s top 10 countries for diabetes prevalence – and the wider Middle East. The findings come from a study by three researchers from the College of Medicine and Health Sciences of the United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain, published in the peer-reviewed medical journal BMJ Open.

Dubai Science Park hosted Advance Health as part of its ongoing commitment to promoting discussion, encouraging networking, supporting growth in science and technology, and helping its business partners contribute to UAE’s ongoing economic diversification.

Ninth Edition of Advance Health Explores Transformative Powers of Next-generation Sequencing: Dubai presented as a hub for innovative scientific research

Dubai Science Park (DSP), a science- and healthcare-focused business community, convened key industry stakeholders at the ninth edition of its Advance Health forum that highlighted the latest trends in next-generation sequencing (NGS).

Organised in partnership with Synapse Medical and Connect Communications, the event took place on 21 November under the theme ‘Next Generation Sequencing – Empowering Clinical Practice’.

NGS, also known as high-throughput sequencing, is the catch-all term used to describe a variety of modern technologies that enable faster and more economical DNA sequencing. For example, using NGS, an entire human genome can be sequenced within a single day. Additionally, the advanced functionality is visible in CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats), a subset of NGS. New research aims to deploy genome editing as a solution to bacterial infections since an alarming number of bacteria are now resistant to one or more antibiotics.

A panel discussion offered insights from a research, clinical, pharmaceutical and technological perspective. Panellists included Habiba Al Safar, Director of Biotechnology Center, Khalifa University, Ahmad Abou Tayoun, Director of Al Jalila Genomics Center, Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital, Abdullah Al-Rahho, Channel Sales Lead, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi, Managing Director of DSP and Chairing Member of the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Equipment Taskforce of the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030.

Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi said: “We are committed to stimulating dialogue for the benefit of our business partners and the wider science community. Through embracing the imminent universal availability of NGS, we can fast-track the positioning of Dubai as a centre of life sciences research, clinical and pharmaceutical discovery, and bioscience innovation.”

He added: “As one of the most rapidly advancing technologies in history, NGS creates a wealth of vital transformative opportunities to expand our understanding of bio medicine, change the face of clinical care and improve human health. It also opens broad prospects for innovation and economic growth. In this context, it is safe to say that precision medicine is the next global space race.”

Habiba Al Safar said: “Our health is determined by our inherent differences combined with our lifestyles and environment. Today, with the enormous development in genomics research, we are moving away from the traditional approach of one-size-fits-all medical approach to more personalised treatments in healthcare based on individual genetic make-up. Understanding the relationship between your genome and lifestyle is an important first step and key to personalizing your health care.

Al Safar highlighted that NGS will bring in newer diagnostic capabilities and make advanced genetic testing more accessible in the UAE to ensure a longer, happier and healthier life for all its citizens. “Needless to say, a healthier population is a productive one, that also makes an important contribution to our country’s economic progress,” she added.

Dubai continues to play an important role in driving the local biotech industry forward. The emirate is expected to attract US$2.5 billion in investments in the pharmaceutical sector over the next five years as it ramps up efforts to motivate international organisations to open factories here as part of the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030. The introduction of new biotechnological products that cater to healthcare entities involved in diagnosis, prognosis and biopharmaceutical development is estimated to give a significant boost to the global market, with the Asia Pacific market poised for the fastest growth.

Dubai Science Park hosts the Advance Health series with the aim of promoting information sharing, encouraging networking opportunities and improving patient outcomes in the UAE. DSP supports the biotech sector through providing a business-friendly environment to attract leaders in the field.

More specialists needed to meet growing demand for mental health services, say experts

Dubai Science Park, DSP, a science- and healthcare-focused business community, convened key industry stakeholders at its Advance Health forum to discuss the current status and future direction of mental health in the UAE.

The topic of the eighth edition of the forum, ‘Breaking Down Barriers in Mental Health’, was both timely and important as it focused on current strategies for awareness and prevention as well as existing healthcare provisions. This was in line with the Dubai Health Authority’s announcement earlier this year that it was looking to implement a new mental health strategy to align Dubai with international standards.

Speakers headlining the session included Dr. Nadia Dabbagh, Consultant Psychiatrist at Rashid Hospital, Dubai Health Authority, Dr. Charushila Thadani, Director of Health Services at AETNA International, Dr. Sarah Carter, Clinical Services Manager at CBT Clinics, Dr. Sarah Rasmi, Social Psychologist at Thrive Wellbeing, and Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi, Managing Director of DSP and Chairing Member of the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Equipment Taskforce of the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030.

Commenting on the event’s proceedings, Dr. Dabbagh said, “The main takeaway from today’s event is that mental health is just as important as physical health.”

“There are many effective interventions available to treat mental illnesses and we are working on making access to care smoother for patients in the UAE. In Dubai, the main goal is to find a more efficient way to connect people who need help to the right providers. Events such as this one are a step in the right direction because they start conversations which reduce stigma and raise awareness,” she added.

Mental well-being is one of the key performance indicators and priority areas outlined in the National Agenda of the UAE Vision 2021. The country’s government regularly undertakes new measures to address mental health issues and provide support to those who need it. The National Policy for the Promotion of Mental Health which aims to develop comprehensive mental health services for patients of all ages is one such measure.

Janahi commented on the growing demand for for mental health services in the country, adding, “Mental health is a subject that is often overlooked or misunderstood. Statistics released at the Dubai Health Forum revealed that nearly a third of Dubai’s population requires mental health help.”

According to the latest research by market research and data analytics firm YouGov, most UAE residents would seek professional help if they or someone they knew was suffering from mental health problems.

“While it is critical for us to implement new initiatives to enhance our mental health support services, such as programmes to assist primary care workers in detecting early signs, it is equally important to break the silence surrounding the topic,” the DSP Managing Director emphasised.

“We are committed to creating events that facilitate knowledge exchange for the benefit of our business partners and the science community at large. Today’s topic is particularly impactful simply because the more we discuss mental health, the more successful we will be in tackling this challenge at an early stage,” he concluded.

Dubai Science Park hosts the Advance Health series with the aim of promoting information sharing, encouraging networking opportunities and improving patient outcomes in the UAE.

DSP organised the gathering in partnership with Synapse Medical Services, a healthcare administration company, and Connect Communications, a strategic healthcare communications agency.

Dubai to become 3D printing hub

Reproduced from Gulf Today, 23 June 2019

Health professionals in Dubai have discussed processes, applications, and the conditions for adopting 3D printing technology in the healthcare sector of the UAE.

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This came during the seventh edition of Dubai Science Park (DSP) Advance Health networking event which also witnessed an interactive demonstration of 3D printing in action.

Titled ‘How 3D Printing Is Transforming Health’, the event organised in partnership with Synapse Medical Services, a healthcare administration company, and Connect Communications, a strategic healthcare communications agency, featured panellists from the Dubai Health Authority, Aetrex Worldwide, Burjeel Hospital, EOS and Sinterex.

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Dr. Mohammed Al Redha, Director of Project Management Office, Informatics and Smart Health at the DHA, said, “Technology in the healthcare space has the potential to transform lives for the better. The role of 3D printing is promising due to its precision, speed and the potential savings it can bring to healthcare systems. We have already seen the benefits of this technology across a number of areas in Dubai including dentistry, surgeries and 3D printed prosthetics. Our aim is to continue to work in collaboration with the private sector to see how we can best implement this technology within Dubai’s healthcare landscape.” Speaking about the event’s topic, Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi, Managing Director of DSP and Chairing Member of the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Equipment Taskforce of the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030, said, “As technology continues to evolve, its implementation extends into diverse sectors. As an industry with a significant potential for growth, healthcare is no exception.

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“Already employed successfully in complex surgeries, 3D printing is likely to revolutionise the domain due to its personalisation capabilities as well as the fact that it minimises risk and maximises positive outcomes.”

Experts Compare Benefits of Public and Private Healthcare Systems at Advance Health

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Press Release

Dubai-UAE: 18 April, 2019 Dubai Science Park (DSP), a science and healthcare-focused business community, brought together leading experts to discuss the merits and challenges of public and private healthcare systems with the aim of determining which model works best for patients, medical services providers and the economy. The significant discussions took place as part of the sixth edition of DSP’s Advance Health forum, a networking platform that convenes key healthcare stakeholders in the UAE to explore crucial industry topics.

DSP organised the event in partnership with Synapse Medical Services, a healthcare administration company, and Connect Communications, a strategic healthcare communications agency, under the theme ‘Health Systems: Who Pays for Health?’. The agenda featured talks by Mihtab Osman, Health Economist at the Dubai Health Authority, Margaret Faux, CEO of Synapse Medical Services, Kandarp Thakkar, Chief Pharmacist at King’s College Hospital London, Joe Hawayek, Middle East Director at AETNA, and Stephan Stauffer, General Manager of Arabian Ethicals.

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Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi, Managing Director of Dubai Science Park and Chairing Member of the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Equipment Taskforce of the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030, said: “The past 10 years have seen a surge in the demand for healthcare services in the UAE, spurred by rising population growth, the government’s efforts to create investor-friendly environments, such as specialised free zones, and the introduction of mandatory health insurance. The UAE leadership’s significant investments in the local healthcare system have already started bearing fruit, with Dubai continuing to strengthen its position as a medical tourism destination.”

He added: “As the UAE strives to become a hub for healthcare services, forums such as this one will become increasingly important. It is critical that we engage leading specialists to identify solutions that will benefit us all. The experts we heard from today concurred on one point – that there is room for improvement. Ultimately, today’s talk was merely the beginning of the conversation, not the end.”

The country’s healthcare system was ranked 10th in the world for efficiency in 2018, ahead of Norway, Switzerland, Canada and the US. With the life expectancy of UAE residents registering 77.1 years and healthcare expenditure estimated at 3.5 per cent of the GDP, the UAE is fast becoming a model for best-in-class healthcare.

Thom Soutter, Business Development Director at Synapse Medical Services, said: “We were delighted to bring the latest in the Advance Health series, with this session focusing on the financing of healthcare systems from a local and global perspective. We explored all areas of the market and what collaboration should be required in the future to ensure that more healthcare spend can be allocated to the most important aspects of any developing healthcare system – preventative and curative treatment. We thank the members of our network for attending and look forward to seeing them at the next event.”

Dubai Science Park, in conjunction with partners Synapse Medical Services and  Connect Communications regularly convenes leading industry events dedicated to the science, healthcare, energy and environment sectors. Previous editions of the Advance Health forum covered important subjects such as telemedicine and disease prevention.

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