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Healthcare in the Arab world

Healthcare in the Arab world

From stronger IT support and higher quality management to a TV channel dedicated to healthcare, the Arab Health Exhibition is bringing some of the region’s healthcare issues to light.

January 25, 2011 4:51 by

Kipp doesn’t write about developments in the fascinating world of healthcare in the Emirates very often. Well that probably has something to do with just about how fascinating it really is, to be honest. Anyway, what with the Arab Health Exhibition we thought the time is ripe for a much needed wrap up of the latest in the realm of “Arab Health.”

To start with, did you know that the UAE spent a whopping AED 1 billion on improving healthcare last year? Just on improving it, that doesn’t even include general spending. Speaking at the opening of the exhibition, Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali, is quoted in The National as saying the UAE government spent Dh1.3 billion constructing and improving hospitals in Umm al Qaiwain and Ras al Khaimah.

But while the government is generously shelling out a limb and a half on establishing and improving infrastructure, it seem quality management is still a major issue for the healthcare sector. At the opening talks, The National reports that Dr Samer Ellaham, chief quality officer and senior consultant at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City’s Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi, said: “There are significant gaps in quality management practices throughout the Middle East. We need to raise the importance of quality management to improve the quality of healthcare.”
Having had to wait more than an hour and a half in a crowded germ infested waiting room (despite having an appointment to see our doctor) Kipp couldn’t agree more.

Aside from quality management issues there have been several suggestions across the board on ways to improving the healthcare scene in the UAE, ranging from improving IT support to increasing efforts to spread awareness.

To begin with, at the conference, doctors and healthcare experts have suggested the creation of a ”national IT backbone”, which will enable “a secure and reliable exchange of health related information.” The advantages of establishing something of this sort are numerous and quite obvious, but we are going to hand it over to the Group Chairman of Wellogic Dr.Ajit Nagpal for his special brand of medical-speak: “It [a national IT backbone] will also help capture crucial statistical information and trends to determine the epidemiological and economic burden of disease for prospective initiatives in public policy.” Of course, so obvious now.

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