Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) team. Image Credit: Twitter

Dubai: Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, has said the UAE’s healthcare system has advanced capabilities to provide a wide range of medical treatments and procedures, including the most complex surgeries.

Emirati medical professionals have demonstrated a high level of expertise in different medical specialties, including paediatric and intrauterine foetal surgery, he said

Sheikh Hamdan’s remarks came during a meeting with the medical team from Latifa Women and Children Hospital led by Emirati doctors that performed the first-ever intrauterine foetal surgery for a spinal cord defect in the Arab region. The meeting, which took place at His Highness’s residence in Nad Al Sheba, was also attended by Humaid Al Qutami, director general of the Dubai Health Authority and Abdulla Mohammed Al Basti, secretary general of The Executive Council of Dubai.

The extremely delicate six-hour surgery was performed on a 25-week-old fetus carried by an Emirati mother that was diagnosed to have myelomeningocele, a type of spinal cord defect. The foetus weighed only 700 grams. As the surgery was performed at this stage and not after the baby was born (which is typically the standard medical procedure), the foetus’ defect was corrected, giving the baby a chance for improving cognitive function, lower limb function and deformities.

During the meeting, the team explained to Sheikh Hamdan how they conducted the highly complex surgery. The procedure was performed by a multidisciplinary team of highly specialised medical professionals from Latifa Women and Children Hospital and Rashid Hospital, led by Emirati doctors Dr Muna AbdulRazzaq Tahlak, consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and CEO of Latifa Women and Children Hospital, and Dr Mohammad Sultan Al Olama, consultant neurosurgeon specialised in Paediatric and Functional Neurosurgery at Rashid Hospital and President of the Emirates Society of Neurological Surgeons in the UAE.

Dr Tahlak and Dr Al Olama outlined the various steps of the procedure performed by a twenty member-team comprised of maternal and fetal medicine experts, obstetricians, anesthesiologists, a clinical pharmacologist, neo-natal and intensive care nurses, scrub nurses from both hospitals, nurse coordinators and a radiographer.

Sheikh Hamdan commended the advanced level of medical services offered in Dubai, whose skilled medical professionals and cutting-edge healthcare facilities have enabled it to emerge as a prominent healthcare destination.

“We thank all those who were involved in this extremely delicate surgery that gave an Emirati family hope for a healthy baby. We hope this success will inspire young Emirati doctors to strive to gain expertise and skills that will help them record accomplishments that will enable the UAE to further consolidate its leadership in the healthcare sector,” His Highness said. Sheikh Hamdan expressed his best wishes to the medical and paramedical staff for their future endeavours.

Al Qutami said the leadership is keen to extend their support to healthcare professionals and encourages them to work harder to acquire more advanced skills to reach the highest level of excellence. Al Qutami said the DHA is proud of the medical team and their achievements. The authority constantly strives to provide the highest standards of accessible medical care to the community, he added.

Al Qutami also thanked Sheikh Hamdan for the meeting, saying the gesture encourages the medical team to strive for more accomplishments.