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UAE to build space hospital to treat astronauts

Ministry unveils several innovative health care initiatives during first day of Arab Health

  • Shaikh Hamdan takes a tour after inaugurating the 43rd edition of Arab Health at Dubai World Trade Centre.Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
  • Shaikh Hamdan takes a tour after inaugurating the 43rd edition of Arab Health at Dubai World Trade Centre.Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
Gulf News

Dubai: The Ministry of Health and Prevention on Monday unveiled a plan to build the first Emirates Space Hospital to treat astronauts using nanotechnology. The announcement was made at the Arab Health 2018 where the ministry also unveiled innovative health care initiatives to treat chronic diseases, including cancer, cardio vascular, diabetes and depression.

The four-day biggest health care exhibition of the Middle East was inaugurated by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.

Dr Kaltoom Mohammad Al Beloushi, Director of Hospitals Department at the ministry said all the new innovations were announced in tandem with the Vision 2021, Artificial Intelligence and National Space Programme and Fourth Industrial Revolution initiatives.

“While the hospital will only be established in 2117 we are laying our groundwork now. Astronauts who are in space will be treated via nano technology wherein their health solutions will be transferred via air waves to them. We want our technology partners and project collaborators to know we are on track with the programme.,” she said

Dr Al Beloushi also elaborated on a series of new health care innovations launched by the health ministry. “We are initiating a stem cell treatment for diabetes and launching our clinical trials in collaboration with Johnson and Johnson in the US in 2018. Many Emiratis will be part of this clinical trials, results of which will be known in a few years.”

The health ministry is also launching a revolutionary new cancer detection technique. Dr Al Beloushi said: ”This technique will use magnetic fields to separate cancer cells and adopt personalised health care to treat each individual according to his or her genetic make-up, making the treatment targeted and specific.” Dr Al Beloushi specified that the new cancer detection system will be available by late 2018.

Wearable device

A health ministry employee whose close relative suffered a cardiac episode developed a new wearable device that will help monitor a patient’s heart health and send notifications to relevant authorities in case patient suffers any irregular heart beat, racing pulse rate or attack.

Rabia Al Ahmad from the health ministry told Gulf News: “My relative’s pulse had jumped to 400 per minute and that got me thinking of creating a new device. I developed a prototype of the device which is based on radio frequency and it sends five notifications that include patient ID, location of patient, pulse rate text messages to the nearest ambulance, nearest clinic and two caregivers to ensure that the patient gets immediate medical intervention if he is having any kind of cardiac episode,” she explained. Al Ahmad added that the prototype will be developed into a wearable watch device in 2018 and UAE residents will be able to purchase it from stores.

Blood sugar

One of the most innovative device is the new method of measuring blood sugar. Dr Al Beloushi explained: “Usually patients are scared of needle pricks to measure blood glucose levels. The earlier patches also had to be placed subcutaneously. But this one can be stuck to a patient’s forearm and he can use a smart phone to scan and find out his blood sugar readings. This device will be available in smart health stores in 2018.”

She said that another kind of sub cutaneous patch that would continuously provide medication to a diabetic for six months to a year was also going to be made available this year. “The patient will not have to inject insulin every day. In fact he will be able to get medication via this patch for six months or more, relieving the patient from the tedium of diabetes medication," she added.

Mental health

Keeping the needs of mental health patients in mind the health ministry has come up with an application based system to deal with depression that will help the mental health physician monitor the mood shifts and emotional swings of his patient on daily basis. Dr Al Beloushi explained: “ This app will held a registered user to communicate his state of mind, his mood, his emotions and thoughts to his doctor that will facilitate quick intervention in case if the individual is entertaining any morose or suicidal thoughts.

Dr Al Beloushi added that almost all innovations would be launched this year. “The health ministry is looking to optimise the use artificial intelligence and telemedicine for innovative and sustainable management of the community,” she added.

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