DoH welcomes over 500 applicants in the 2024 Medical Education Programmes

ABU DHABI: A total of 505 applicants have been accepted out of 1,711 applications across the Medical Education Programmes offered by the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the regulator of the healthcare sector in Abu Dhabi, representing a 10 % increase in both applications and participants from 2023.

The Medical Education Programmes, which include internships, medical residencies, and fellowships across various healthcare specialties in medicine, dentistry and pharmacy, have seen unprecedented interest among nationals and non-nationals alike in recognition of Abu Dhabi’s leading position in the global healthcare landscape. In line with DoH’s commitment to national Emiratisation goals and the development of a robust, home-grown healthcare workforce, all 294 UAE national applications were accepted into the programmes, surpassing the number of non-nationals accepted across the programmes for the first time since the launch of the programmes in 2010. In medical residency programmes, Emirati graduates const
itute 75 percent of the participants and 62 percent across the fellowship programmes.

Dr. Rashid Obaid Al Suwaidi, Executive Director of the Healthcare Workforce Sector at DoH, commented on this achievement: “We are thrilled to see the growing interest in our Medical Education Programmes, which reflects the high standards and excellence that DoH strives to maintain. The increase in the number of UAE nationals among the accepted candidates highlights our dedication to nurturing national talent and contributing to the UAE’s vision of creating a sustainable, self-reliant healthcare workforce. This milestone also reflects the cutting-edge facilities across Abu Dhabi that serve as a catalyst to deliver world-class training opportunities and better prepare medical graduates to lead the future of healthcare. Through our programmes, we aim to showcase the capabilities of Abu Dhabi’s healthcare ecosystem and reinforce its leading position on a global level.”

There is a total of 44 specialties under the Medical Educa
tion Programmes, including the newly added fellowships in critical care and geriatric medicine, medical residency in urology, and three dental internships. Other specialties include general surgery, paediatric surgery, internal medicine, family medicine, emergency medicine, anaesthesiology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, psychiatry, dermatology, urology and radiology, dentistry and pharmacy. Each of the programmes is led by industry experts across Abu Dhabi’s state-of-the-art facilities creating an ideal platform for knowledge and experience sharing.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital conducts first-ever vascular surgery in Mideast

KUWAIT, Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital’s vascular surgery and catheterization team conducted a surgery for the Aortic Thoracicin Aneurysm Arch, the first of its kind in the Middle East.

In a statement on Thursday, the hospital said the surgery involves fixing a stint to fit the size of arteries of the patient, and later implanting it through catheterization, adding that the surgery was led by Dr. Abdullah Al-Fawwaz.

This technique is a safer substitute for traditional stints, which is desinged according to the case and have a high cost, it noted.

Studies showed that this technique also reduces the risk of stroke that sometimes follow traditional stint implanting, said the hospital. The surgery is done through one large incision for perfusion in the Brachiocephalic artery and the left common carotid artery, as well as a small incision for the left subclavian artery.

The surgery was done through local anesthesia, and the patient was discharged from the hospital the next day without any side effects, the stateme
nt said.

Source: Kuwait News Agency

Emirates Health Services signs partnership agreement with Texas Children’s Hospital

DUBAI: The Emirates Health Services (EHS) today signed an agreement with Texas Children’s Hospital in the United States of America to improve children’s health care services and strengthen medical cooperation between the two parties through the Visiting Consultants Program (VCP).

Dr. Essam Al Zarouni, Acting Executive Director of the Medical Services Sector at EHS, stressed that the signing of this agreement reflects the EHS’s commitment to upgrading the level of medical services provided in its hospitals and health facilities by drawing on outstanding international expertise.

This understanding will contribute to the promotion of research and innovation and the development of new treatment methods, ensuring the provision of comprehensive and high-quality health care for children, he added.

The agreement provides for bilateral cooperation in the medical specialisations through joint work in the clinical fields and support in the development of the universal health-care programme and the promotion of educat
ional programmes in various areas and in all medical disciplines through the exchange of expertise and experiences, in order to achieve benefits and gains in the field of health care of both sides and to provide access to highly qualified and skilled doctors and specialists in addition to providing a sustainable health-care system based on advanced technology, to support the UAE’s efforts to promote the health and wellness of all members of society.

Visiting Consultants Programme (VCP) was officially launched in 2015 as one of EHS objectives to provide comprehensive and integrated healthcare services in an innovative and sustainable manner.

Throughout the Visiting Consultants Programme, Emirates Health Services collaborates with selected distinguished international health institutions, universities, and medical centres of the highest international standards to deliver premium medical care to our community. The programme enables continuous training and learning opportunities for professional healthcare provi
ders to raise medical expertise and competence.

Source: Emirates News Agency

MoHAP highlights National Framework for Healthy Ageing in collaboration with WHO

DUBAI: The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has organised a four-day workshop on the National Framework for Healthy Ageing in Dubai, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to promote the health of the elderly and develop an effective health response plan for dementia (Alzheimer’s disease).

The workshop, attended by Dr. Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for the Public Health Sector, brought together experts from various UAE health authorities and stakeholders. It explored avenues for enhancing collaboration and developing actionable strategies to support senior citizens and residents in the UAE.

The event also aimed to create comprehensive strategies for healthy ageing, prepare a national response plan for dementia, strengthen cooperation between health and non-health sectors, and share best practices and innovative solutions.

WHO’s Decade of Healthy Ageing

The workshop discussed essential metrics from the World Health Organisation’s Decade of Healthy Ageing
, focusing on enhancing older individuals’ access to healthcare, promoting healthy practices, fostering research and innovation in the field of ageing, ensuring social inclusion, and enhancing life quality through integrated policies and programs.

Age-friendly environment

Dr. Al Rand stressed that the workshop is particularly important, bringing together experts from various UAE health authorities and stakeholders. The key objective was to develop a comprehensive national framework for healthy ageing and devise an effective response strategy for dementia, in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“Spanning from 2025 to 2030, this framework includes several initiatives aimed at fostering an age-friendly environment where older adults can lead healthy, active, and independent lives. It also ensures they can contribute meaningfully to society, uphold their rights, and live with dignity and respect, thereby establishing the UAE as a frontrunner in promoting active and healthy ageing.”

Policy for Senior Citizens

Dr. Al Rand noted that the UAE has long been a leader in this area, having implemented the National Policy for Senior Emiratis. This policy ensures that seniors receive all the necessary support to lead dignified lives that match their social and health status. It includes providing therapeutic, rehabilitation, and social services to the elderly, who deserve the highest level of care and respect from their families, relatives, and all national social entities. This policy does, in fact, reflect the deep-rooted values and culture of the Emirati people and aims to instill these noble values in future generations.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines healthy ageing as the process of developing and maintaining the functional abilities that enable well-being in older age. These abilities include physical fitness, mental health, and social engagement. According to WHO, approximately 50 million people globally are currently living with dementia, a figure that is projected to tripl
e by the year 2050.

The WHO Decade of Healthy Ageing Plan 2020-2030 is a comprehensive 10-year strategy focused on action-driven and sustainable collaboration. It places older adults at the forefront of its agenda, aiming to enhance their lives as well as those of their families and communities. The plan calls for the collaboration of governments, civil society, international agencies, professionals, academia, media, and the private sector. It is the second action plan under the WHO Strategy on Healthy Ageing and draws from the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing. Additionally, it is synchronised with the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and its associated Sustainable Development Goals.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Childhood immunisation levels stalled in 2023: UN

GENEVA: Global childhood vaccination levels have stalled, leaving around 2.7 million children lacking the protection they need compared to the pre-COVID-19 levels of 2019, UN agencies said on Sunday, warning of dangerous coverage gaps enabling outbreaks of diseases like measles.

That is according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) snapshot of trends for vaccinations against 14 diseases-all of which underlines the need for ongoing catch-up, recovery, and system-strengthening efforts.

‘The latest trends demonstrate that many countries continue to miss far too many children,’ said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.

The data revealed that previous progress in reaching pre-pandemic immunisation levels has stalled. Worldwide diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP) immunisation coverage was 84% in 2023, the same as in 2022 but below 86% recorded in 2019.

This stagnation reflects ongoing challenges with disruptions in healthcare services, logistical challenges, vaccin
e hesitancy and inequities in access to services, the report added.

The new report also showed that the number of children who had not received a single dose of the DTP vaccine increased from 13.9 million in 2022 to 14.5 million in 2023.

Additionally, 6.5 million children did not complete their third dose of the DTP vaccine, which is necessary to achieve disease protection in infancy and early childhood.

The data further highlighted that vaccination rates against the deadly measles disease stalled, leaving nearly 35 million children lacking sufficient protection.

In 2023, only 83 percent of children worldwide received their first dose of the measles vaccine under-immunised health services, while the number of children receiving their second dose modestly increased from the previous year, reaching 74% of children.

These figures fall short of the 95 percent coverage needed to prevent outbreaks, avert unnecessary disease and deaths, and achieve measles elimination goals.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Brain-imaging study reveals curiosity as it emerges

WASHINGTON: A research team based at Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute has for the first time witnessed what is happening in the human brain when feelings of curiosity like this arise.

In a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the scientists revealed brain areas that appear to assess the degree of uncertainty in visually ambiguous situations, giving rise to subjective feelings of curiosity.

Curiosity has deep biological origins,” said corresponding author Jacqueline Gottlieb, PhD, a principal investigator at the Zuckerman Institute. The primary evolutionary benefit of curiosity, she added, is to encourage living things to explore their world in ways that help them survive.

“What distinguishes human curiosity is that it drives us to explore much more broadly than other animals, and often just because we want to find things out, not because we are seeking a material reward or survival benefit,” said Dr. Gottlieb, who is also a professor of neuroscience at Columbia’s Vagelos College of Physicians and
Surgeons. “This leads to a lot of our creativity.”

In the study, researchers employed a noninvasive, widely used technology to measure changes in the blood-oxygen levels in the brains of 32 volunteers. Called functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, the technology enabled the scientists to record how much oxygen different parts of the subjects’ brains consumed as they viewed images. The more oxygen a brain region consumes, the more active it is.

To unveil those brain areas involved in curiosity, the research team presented participants with special images known as texforms. These are images of objects, such as a walrus, frog, tank or hat, that have been distorted to various degrees to make them more or less difficult to recognize.

The researchers asked participants to rate their confidence and curiosity about each texform, and found that the two ratings were inversely related. The more confident subjects were that they knew what the texform depicts, the less curious they were about it. Conversely, t
he less confident subjects were that they could guess what the texform was, the more curious they were about it.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Burjeel Holdings receives NIHS Institutional Accreditation

ABU DHABI: Burjeel Holdings has achieved a significant milestone by receiving institutional accreditation from the National Institute for Health Specialties (NIHS), a prestigious accreditation programme in the UAE. Burjeel Holdings is the first private entity in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to obtain this accreditation as a group.

The accreditation was officially conferred by Dr. Mohammed Al-Houqani, Secretary-General of NIHS, during a ceremony attended by Dr. Rashed Obaid Alsuwaidi, Executive Director of Healthcare Workforce Planning Sector, Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, and senior officials from the Group.

Dr. Mohammed Al-Houqani emphasised the significance of this achievement, stating, ‘The institutional accreditation for Burjeel Holdings represents a major accomplishment aligned with the UAE’s vision to enhance the quality of medical education, training, and the qualification of healthcare workers according to the highest evaluation standards.’

Six institutions under the Group’s umbrella have been accr
edited as teaching hospitals, including Burjeel Medical City, Burjeel Hospital Abu Dhabi, Al Dhannah Hospital, Medeor 24/7 Hospital, Burjeel Royal Hospital, Al Ain, and Burjeel Royal Hospital, Asharej.

Expressing pride in this remarkable achievement, John Sunil, CEO of Burjeel Holdings, said, ‘We are honoured to receive this prestigious accreditation, which will pave the way for us to deliver specialised medical education programmes of the highest quality. This achievement aligns with our vision and goals of enriching the healthcare sector in the UAE by cultivating a highly skilled healthcare workforce trained locally.’

The Group plans to introduce a range of residency and fellowship programmes in medical specialities, along with specialised nursing programmes, in collaboration with regulatory authorities in the Emirate.

Source: Emirates News Agency

COVID-19 still kills 1,700 a week: WHO

GENEVA: COVID-19 is still killing around 1,700 people a week around the world, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Thursday, urging those most at risk to continue receiving vaccinations against the virus.

At a press conference, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed concern over declining vaccine coverage globally.

Despite the continued death toll, ‘data show that vaccine coverage has declined among health workers and people over 60, which are two of the most at-risk groups.’

‘WHO recommends that people in the highest-risk groups receive a COVID-19 vaccine within 12 months of their last dose,’ Adhanom added.

Source: Emirates News Agency

MBRSC and Dubai Health sign agreement to elevate astronaut health and space healthcare innovation

DUBAI: The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) today announced the signing of an agreement with Dubai Health to cooperate in the provision of an optimum environment to ensure the health and safety of astronauts, in addition to enhancing innovation in health sciences. The agreement was signed by Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director General, MBRSC, and. Dr. Amer Sharif, CEO, Dubai Health, at the Centre’s headquarters recently.

Salem Humaid AlMarri, Director General, MBRSC, said, ‘The health and safety of our astronauts are paramount, and this agreement will ensure that they receive the best possible care before, during, and after their missions. In the rapidly evolving space sector, collaboration is the way forward. By integrating our efforts with Dubai Health, we are not only enhancing the well-being of our astronauts but also pushing the boundaries of space healthcare and driving innovation in health sciences. This partnership not only strengthens our capabilities but also underscores the UAE’s commitment to
pioneering advancements in space and health technologies.’

Dr. Amer Sharif, CEO, Dubai Health, said, ‘Emirati astronauts are a source of national pride and a significant asset for the UAE in advancing knowledge, scientific capabilities, as well as raising our great country’s profile on a global stage. At Dubai Health, we are proud to play a direct role in ensuring the health and safety of our astronauts by offering an environment for quality healthcare, providing comprehensive health assessments and supporting the monitoring of health during space missions.’

He further commented, ‘This agreement aligns with our strategic objectives, encompassing key pillars of care, learning and discovery to elevate the standard of care and to advance health for humanity, whilst helping to strengthen our nation’s healthcare and space capabilities.’

The agreement outlines a range of initiatives by MBRSC to ensure the health and well-being of astronauts. In cooperation with Dubai Health, the Centre will conduct comprehensive
health assessments for astronauts prior to mission deployment, including medical examinations, screenings, and evaluations to ensure fitness for space travel.

Furthermore, MBRSC will provide astronaut training programmes in collaboration with Dubai Health, ensuring that astronauts are adequately prepared for health-related protocols and emergencies, in addition to integration and exchange of health data with healthcare providers for comprehensive astronaut care. Both entities will also work together to enhance medical technologies and methodologies related to space healthcare, fostering continuous improvement.

Source: Emirates News Agency

MoHAP organises training workshop to boost healthcare providers’ skills in child growth assessment

DUBAI: The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) organised a training workshop targeting healthcare workers in the public and private sectors.

The training aimed to assess the growth of children under five years old to early detect potential health issues related to malnutrition, including overweight, obesity, wasting, and stunting.

The workshop focused on equipping parents with the necessary support and interventions to address these concerns promptly.

The event, the second of its kind under the Child Growth Monitoring Programme, is part of the Ministry’s ongoing initiatives designed to train healthcare providers in both the public and private sectors.

The workshop was attended by Dr Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for the Public Health Sector, and Nouf Khamis Al Ali, Director of the Health Promotion Department at MoHAP.

It was also attended by Nouf Khamis Al Ali, Director of the Health Promotion Department at MoHAP, as
well as a number of healthcare providers from the government sector, including Emirates Health Services, Dubai Health, Sheikh Khalifa General Hospital in Ajman and Umm Al Quwain. This is in addition to Hospitals from the private sector, including Burjeel Hospital, Medcare, NMC Hospital and University Hospital Sharjah.

Dr Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for the Public Health Sector, said, “The training workshop on monitoring the growth of children under the age of five is part of the Ministry’s ongoing efforts to enhance community health and improve the efficiency of our health system. It aligns with our commitment to the National Nutrition Strategy 2022-2030. We’ve seen great involvement from healthcare providers, and it’s just one of many steps we’re taking to enhance the skills of our health staff. By bringing them up to speed with the latest in paediatric care, we’re really investing in the health of our future generations. We’re committed to keeping up these efforts to ensure the b
est possible healthcare for all kids.’

Nouf Khamis Al Ali said, ‘The Ministry of Health and Prevention is ramping up its efforts to establish surveillance systems and ensure early detection of potential health issues in children, such as malnutrition.’

She stressed that early intervention is crucial for the proper health and development of kids. ‘We really appreciate the involvement of all healthcare providers in this area. The Ministry is committed to continuing these workshops and training programmes to enhance our health staff’s capabilities, equipping them with top-notch knowledge to improve childcare quality nationwide,’ Khamis added.

In October, the Ministry organised a training workshop for health workers in the UAE focused on collecting and analysing data concerning the growth of children under the age of five. The event aimed to establish a unified national data collection system. It trained participants to examine and analyse the current nutritional data for this age group and to contribute to de
veloping solutions for any identified challenges.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Noor Dubai Foundation launches its first tele-ophthalmology programme in Nepal

DUBAI: In line with our mission of people centered eye care services that are environmentally responsible to support sustainability, Noor Dubai Foundation launched its latest programme in Nepal in collaboration with Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh (NNJS), a non-profit making, non-governmental, welfare-oriented social organisation to represent the Government of Nepal and the Social Welfare Council of Nepal.

The project employs tele-ophthalmology to enhance eye care accessibility in remote areas of Nepal over a 3-year period across 15 health centres. The programme encompasses primary care, expert consultations, and training. Telemedicine and tele-ophthalmology revolutionise healthcare delivery through electronic communication and advanced technology, enabling remote exchange of medical information. These innovative solutions leverage real-time data analytics and technology driven insights to optimise healthcare delivery and decision-making, ensuring efficient and excellent patient care.

It is estimated that 6.8 milli
on people suffer with vision loss in Nepal with 8.4 ophthalmologists per million of the population available. In the end of the 3 years period, the project is expected to deliver improved primary eye care to 433,000 patients in 15 eye centres and enable expert consultant reviews for 82,000 individuals through tele-ophthalmology in the same period. The programme will also focus on human resource development and empowering local community through training 15 allied ophthalmic staff and 6 ophthalmologists in tele-ophthalmology. In addition, the programme aims to improve the health infrastructure further by connecting 15 primary and 2 tertiary eye centres for enhanced services. With an investment of AED 1,070,252 over a 3-year period, 11 million people are expected to benefit from this programme.

The programme aims to accelerate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 3, 8,9, and 13 through employing technology driving impact in global health issues, including improving accessibility to good quali
ty eye care, investments in human capital, infrastructure maturity and reducing inequality. Employing telemedicine significantly reduces the cost of providing the health services and improves healthcare efficiency, stimulating economic growth in the communities served. Furthermore, tele-ophthalmology can support healthcare to reduce the impacts of climate change by reducing greenhouse emissions.

A UAE based charity focused on the prevention of blindness and visual impairment globally, Noor Dubai Foundation is committed to expanding its partnerships across geographies to accelerate its agenda of innovative programmes employing technology to improve healthcare accessibility. Partnering with NNJS, a leading non-profit organization representing the Government of Nepal and the Social Welfare Council of Nepal in eye care activities, enables the Foundation to maximise its reach and impact on the health landscape.

Dr Manal Taryam, Board Member and CEO of the Noor Dubai Foundation, highlighted ‘We are honoured to pa
rtner with NNJS to deliver maximum impact in the targeted areas. Through Tele-ophthalmology, we will lead the transformation of service delivery in eye care, maximising accessibility to those in need and leaving a lasting legacy in global health and wellbeing’.

Prof. Dr. Chet Raj Pant, Chairperson, NNJS stated: ‘The tele-ophthalmology service operated with the support of Noor Dubai Foundation will connect the citizens in the remote and rural areas of Nepal with specialist eye treatment services in our eye hospitals. In a geographically challenging country like ours, tele-ophthalmology offers a more effective way to deliver specialised eye care services directly to patients in their homes.’

Source: Emirates News Agency

WHO prequalifies first self-test kit for ‘Hepatitis C’ virus

GENEVA: The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced on Wednesday that it has prequalified the first self-test for the hepatitis C virus (HCV), thus accelerating efforts towards elimination of the viral infection.

Hepatitis C attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic illness that can be life-threatening. It is spread through contact with infected blood, including through sharing needles or syringes, unscreened blood transfusions, among other practices that lead to exposure to blood.

In a press release on Thursday, WHO said, “The OraQuick HCV self-test can provide a critical support in expanding access to testing and diagnosis.’

The kit is manufactured by OraSure Technologies and is an extension of the OraQuick HCV Rapid Antibody Test which was initially prequalified by WHO in 2017 for professional use.

Some 50 million people have chronic hepatitis C virus infection, with about a million new infections occurring each year, according to WHO.

Source: Emirates News Agency