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As the curtains close on another successful Arab Health Exhibition & Congress, the global medical community gets set for another busy year ahead.
By Inga Louisa Stevens, Contributing Writer
In line with the UAE Vision 2021, which aims to achieve a world-class healthcare system, the 43rd Arab Health Exhibition & Congress welcomed more than 4,200 of the most innovative healthcare companies and 103,000 attendees from 150+ countries to its home at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 29 January – 1 February 2018. With the demand for healthcare products and services continuing to increase within the region, Arab Health has once again proved its credentials as a must-visit exhibition for anyone associated with the industry - not only in the Middle East, but also across the globe.
Arab Health 2018, organised by Informa Life Science Exhibitions, was officially opened by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Deputy Ruler of Dubai and the Minister of Finance and Industry of the United Arab Emirates, who toured the exhibition along with local and regional dignitaries.
During his tour, HH Sheikh Hamdan inaugurated the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) online media channel known as Sahaa Wa Saada (Health and Happiness). Speaking during the inauguration, His Excellency Humaid Al Qutami, Chairman of the Board and Director-General of the DHA, said: “In line with the vision of our leaders and in line with the Dubai Health Strategy 2016-2021, we are keen to develop initiatives that promote healthy lifestyle and wellbeing. Prevention and healthy lifestyle is an important pillar of the DHA strategy and the launch of this online media channel stems from our goal to promote a healthy environment through community engagement.”
There are Deals to be Done
As expected, the exhibition floor at Arab Health was buzzing with excitement as many of the world’s leading healthcare companies showcased groundbreaking technologies and innovative solutions designed to improve patient experience and clinical outcomes across the region. A number of regional ‘firsts’ were announced, and millions of dollars of contracts were negotiated and signed during the four-day industry showcase.
One example was GE Healthcare’s announcement that it would deliver advanced diagnostic technology to fully equip the radiology department of King’s College Hospital London in the UAE, which is set to open in Q1 2019.
“The future of healthcare is fast, simple and about affordable solutions that drive tangible outcomes for patients and providers alike,” said David Mezher, General Manager- Middle East, GE Healthcare. “GE Healthcare has an established heritage of equipping the leading public and private sector hospitals in the region with the advanced technology physicians need to be able to focus on what matters most: delivering high quality care to their patients.”
Another announcement came from RAK Hospital in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, as they launched a revolutionary stem cell therapy for the treatment of arthritis and other joint related issues. RAK Hospital’s Bone and Joint Centre will be led by world-renowned knee regenerative and reconstruction specialist Dr William Andrew Hodge.
Meanwhile, Royal Philips was at Arab Health to showcase its broad portfolio of smart digital platforms and intelligent solutions to help address the region’s biggest healthcare challenges. Some of the technologies on show included Azurion, Philips’ new-generation image guided therapy platform, MR Prodiva - the new MR Prodiva 1.5T provides enhanced clinical performance, workflow and patient experience. Philips also unveiled new solutions to drastically reduce exam times and elevate neuro-oncology.
The UK’s largest specialist heart and lung centre, the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Specialist Care, demonstrated two live surgeries on their stand at Arab Health -the Ozaki procedure for reconstruction of diseased aortic value function and the VATS lobectomy to treat large tumours of the lung. Both surgeries were performed in response to growing Middle East health concerns surrounding heart and lung disease. Each procedure highlighted how innovative techniques can have life-changing benefits for those living in the region.
Siemens Healthineers was at Arab Health to present a new range of diagnostic imaging and therapy solutions, the latest innovations use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 3D camera technology to expand precision medicine and improve patient experience, reducing unwanted variations and repeat procedures. The innovations launched at Arab Health 2018 included the Cios Spin, an intra-operative 3D imaging device set to reduce revision surgery; the Mammomat Revelation, a premium mammography system featuring 3D HD Breast Biopsy, providing automated breast density measurements and improving patient access to functional breast imaging; and nexaris Therapy Suites, a solution to better integrate multi-modal imaging in surgery and interventional radiology.
All Eyes on Personal Health Tech
Manufacturers and providers of personalised healthcare products and services showcased pioneering technologies in the first-ever Personal Healthcare Technology Zone at Arab Health. The 800sqm Zone featured smart watches, health monitors, telemedicine technologies, and mobile device accessories.
One of the technologies on show was the Yirdoc intelligent mesh nebuliser from Qingdao Future Medical Technology Ltd in China. The mesh nebuliser is the third generation of technological innovation and comes with OOT-technology. It has one-button operation and uses intelligent technology to maximise the effect of the medication and offers adjustable nebulisation rate via the smartphone or tablet app.
According to Yuheng Feng, leader of the Global Market Unit at Yirdoc, “Traditional medical treatments for respiratory diseases come with a lot of problems including the possibility of cross infection in a hospital setting or the distress caused to children due to the noise from a traditional nebuliser. We have committed ourselves to providing a reliable, intelligent and portable home solution for the treatment of respiratory diseases.”
As part of the Personal Healthcare Technology Zone, the recently introduced Product Demo Zone also featured the latest ‘Smart’ healthcare products, from a healthcare concierge app which helps you connect to pharmacies and doctors, to the first smartphone electrocardiograph that enables remote reporting, to glucose monitoring devices.
A key exhibitor at the Product Demo Zone, Richard Thomas, Managing Director of Activinsights commented: “Arab Health is the perfect platform to showcase our latest innovative products, such as the Activinsights Band, which delivers efficient diagnostic solutions for healthcare providers and patients alike. Wearables and smart technologies are truly transforming the healthcare market, enabling higher quality and more efficient solutions.”
The 3D Medical Printing Zone returned to Arab Health for a second year in partnership with the Dubai Health Authority, displaying the most innovative technologies that are revolutionising the healthcare sector and the limitless clinical applications of 3D printing.
With global healthcare technology and service providers competing to deliver high quality, cost-efficient and smart healthcare, the international community was keen to put their best foot forward in terms of their national capabilities and expertise. This year, Arab Health hosted 40 national pavilions packed with innovative medical technology solutions aimed at impressing the stakeholders in the Middle East region.
Finland had a stronger than ever presence with more than 35 companies showcasing the latest innovations in Finnish healthcare services and technologies. One of the key highlights was the Adesante’s Clinical Operation Simulator (SurgeryVision™) - a virtual reality solution for surgery planning.
According to Teppo Lainio, Senior Advisor, QMS, SurgeryVision, and co-exhibitor at Business Finland stand: "This was our first time at Arab Health and it is the premiere of SurgeryVision to the world and the first place outside of Finland. We have gained a very good reputation here and have got an exceeding amount of leads from this area including UAE, Saudi Arabia and even further away from India and Pakistan. It is an extremely good exhibition and has proved to be useful for us. We are very happy and look forward to coming back next year."
Meanwhile, the focus for Healthcare UK at Arab Health 2018 was on prevention, quality and innovation - with outstanding applications in the field of digital healthcare. As Healthcare UK managing director Deborah Kobewka explained: “We have an excellent presence at Arab Health, as we have done for many years. Our objective is to profile the very best of British healthcare - both our public sector capabilities which are encapsulated by the NHS, as well as the private sector. This year, we have brought with us four innovative private sector companies that are all showcasing the very best of digital capabilities in the UK.”
Other national pavilions with a strong presence at Arab Health included the Italian pavilion with 127 exhibiting companies. The French pavilion took up 1,300 sqm of exhibition space and showcased medical expertise in a wide variety of areas from 130 French companies. From across the Atlantic Ocean, 30 Brazilian companies gathered at Arab Health to highlight innovations in healthcare technology solutions.
Getting Hands-On with Training
For the second year, Arab Health hosted the popular Hands-On Training (HoT) concept – real-time training modules that were delivered on the exhibition ﬂoor. With a number of unique programmes, participants were able to train on the advanced techniques with the latest state-of-the-art equipment across different modalities such as aesthetic and conservative dentistry, OR risk management, ultrasound, endoscopy, and many more.
Ansell, an Australian company that manufactures protection solutions, hosted a number of HoT sessions including on the hazards of glove powder. This education module examined the risks associated with powdered glove use to both healthcare providers and patients, as well as strategies to prevent exposure to glove powder.
Meanwhile, American medical technology firm Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) hosted a medication management module that covered topics such as inventory optimisation in central pharmacy, outpatient smart pharmacy solutions and automating supply management in procedural areas.
Education the Arab Health Way
More than 8,000 delegates from across the globe participated in the Arab Health Congress that offered 19 business, leadership and Continuing Medical Education (CME) conferences aimed to bridge the gap in medical knowledge. Attendees had the chance to learn from leading experts in the field to hear about the most prominent topics in the region, including public health, family medicine and obesity, bringing the latest issues and developments in the industry to the forefront.
Speaking as part of the Paediatrics Conference, a popular speciality with this year’s attendees, Dr Rabi Hanna, a specialist in pediatric haematology, oncology, and blood and bone marrow transplantation at Cleveland Clinic in the US, shared his insights into a series of clinical breakthroughs that will revolutionise treatment of genetic blood disorders and increase the life expectancy of children diagnosed with sickle cell disease and thalassemia.
Dr Hanna said significant changes in treatment are likely in the next five to ten years, including advances in bone marrow transplant techniques, gene therapies, and improved medications. “In the past few years there have been big steps forward in haplo-transplants, using family members that are only half-matched, particularly a mum or dad with 50 percent of the child’s genes. That will give more children the chance of a cure, replacing bone marrow that is defective with new bone marrow that is healthy.”
With lifestyle diseases and chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and arthritis becoming more prevalent in the region, speakers at the first Family Medicine Conference highlighted current approaches to diagnosis and management, as well as the latest preventive measures. The congress also welcomed its first Obesity Conference – a timely and relevant forum for clinicians in the region where prevalence of the disease has reached epidemic proportions.
The Show Goes on!
Since its launch at Arab Health 2017, Informa’s global medical directory – Omnia - has had over four million page views, more than 200,000 plus viewers, +7000 members and an estimated 30,000 products uploaded on its portal www.omnia360.com. Breaking all geographic boundaries and time zones for all of Informa’s Life Sciences events across the globe, year-round access to the portal enables visitors to source information on companies exhibiting at Informa Life Sciences’ shows as well as interact with and explore products beyond the show floor, whenever and wherever it is needed.
This year promises to bring in even more exciting possibilities for growth for all Omnia members and visitors. “In 2018, we will bring all of Informa’s Life Sciences events under the Omnia 360 umbrella - this includes 12 global trade shows,” said Joseph Chackola, Publications Director, Informa Life Sciences, Dubai, UAE. “In addition, several new platform features are being developed and deployed to guarantee business leads for each and every single member on Omnia. The goal is to enhance the whole exhibition experience - whether it is for the exhibitor, manufacturer or healthcare provider.”