Dubai: Since health care in the region is undergoing massive changes, the leadership in health care conference that took place on Thursday during the Arab Health exhibition, discussed these changes and the challenges that will be faced in the future.
The conference’s key note speaker Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain, chairperson of Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCC) and wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, talked about the health care challenges faced by the region and the distinctive opportunities available from a global perspective.
“Did you know that every day in the region 2,500 children  die unnecessarily, largely because they do not have access to adequate health care,” said Princess Haya.
The conference, which ran under the theme “Addressing the Future”, is considered vital to stakeholders who set the tone for national implementation as commercial viability, business models, leadership attributes and revenue generation were discussed.
“As the population matures, we are witnessing an increase in non-communicable diseases. It is a burden on the budget and needs urgent attention. Leveraging patient data, which providers have been amassing, will lead to better business decisions and generate affordable care,” said Will Morris the CEO of Informa Exhibitions.
Also, in separate events at Arab Health, 2013, that concluded on Thursday in Dubai, two first-time topics on diabetes and homeopathy were introduced in the line-up.
The introduction of the Diabetes and CAM: Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine conferences, according to the speakers, reflects the demand to share expertise in the fields.
Speaking to Gulf News, Dr Karim Meeran, Professor of Endocrinology at Imperial College London’s Diabetes Centre in Abu Dhabi, said a surge in diabetes cases over the last two decades meant that managing diabetes in the UAE was a major issue.
He said: “Treating diabetes and its complications already accounts for 40 per cent of health care spending in the UAE.”
Dr Meeran added that education was crucial. “Part of the challenge is that around half of those living with diabetes do not know that they have it. All of us, including patients with diabetes, and pre-diabetes, need education on adopting and managing a healthy lifestyle.”
Speaker at the CAM conference, Dr Vaneeta Shahani, told Gulf News that increasingly homeopathy has gained acceptance. The homeopathic medicine practitioner at the Osteopathic Health Centre in Dubai, said: “The dedicated conference shows the awareness and the acceptance of alternative therapies like homeopathy. Strict regulation for CAM practitioners in the UAE have also made the profession credible.”
Her focus was on treating hyperactivity in children. “In terms of incidence of hyperactivity in kids, the UAE is on a par with the global average. Figures suggest three to five per cent; through homeopathy we can manage conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD].”
— Noor Nazzal is a trainee at Gulf News