Better treatment needed for trauma sufferers in Arab world


Groundbreaking research conducted by United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) and a public health science program at one of the world’s leading universities has identified the need to provide psychological trauma sufferers in the Arab world with better treatment through awareness and training programs.

A research team from UAEU’s College of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS) and the Harvard Program on Refugee Trauma (HPRT) has completed a collaborative study focusing on the extent of trauma awareness and its impact on health in the Middle East, with 90 psychiatrists and primary care doctors from 17 Arab countries among those providing input and insight.

Led by Dr Ossama Osman, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at CMHS, and Professor Richard Mollica, Director of HPRT, the project studied the magnitude of the problems resulting from psychological trauma, the dynamics of the condition and its different types, and the resources available in the Middle East to address its impact on people’s physical and mental health in “a scientifically and culturally sensitive manner”.

The team – which also included Professor Taoufik Zoubeidi, Professor of Statistics at UAEU’s College of Business, and was supported by the Zayed Bin Sultan Center for Health Sciences, directed by Professor Fatima Al-Maskari – found:

  • There is a need for increased focus on psychological and psychiatric morbidity in the region, due to its links to trauma.
  • Many patients are at risk of mental illness, or struggle to access care, due to “social problems” such as divorce and separation, with psychiatrists reportedly seeing divorced patients more frequently than primary care physicians.
  • Respondents indicated they were “not highly confident” in managing patients with various psychosocial problems, suggesting a lack of training and “culturally- relevant research” in this area.
  • “Strong social conventions” mean physicians may avoid discussing topics that have the potential for embarrassment.
  • It is “very likely” that most people with post-traumatic stress disorder are only seen by primary care physicians, reducing the prospects of their condition being identified.
  • There is a need for “local practices, data, and research” – such as traditional and religious healers, community volunteers, and other lay groups – to be integrated into the modern mainstream care network.

The study also found that many clinicians surveyed during the project said continuing medical education to update their knowledge was not a requirement of their role, and this needed “serious attention”; and that, in many areas, medication for psychiatric illness was not available in a primary care setting.

A research paper produced by the UAEU/ HPRT team outlined that between 100 million- 140 million people in the Arab world are estimated to suffer from at least one psychiatric disorder, with the level of psychiatric resources at regional level beginning to receive “increased attention”.

Through the survey, the team discovered that the most commonly-reported traumas related to divorce or separation, the recent death of a close relative or friend, serious traffic accidents, and domestic violence. However, the types of problems reporteddiffered from country to country depending on the number of practicing psychiatrists per person.

“The findings in this study indicated a need to continue efforts toward developing global mental health alliances,” said the team in their project conclusions. “Clearly, improvements in awareness, education, planning, and resource allocation are necessary.

“In addition, the development and implementation of culturally-appropriate models of understanding and addressing psychiatric issues related to trauma will be important to maximize the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of these interventions. Through these efforts and other partnerships, we hope to develop regional centers of excellence in research and training for traumainformed mental health services.”

Abbott launches region’s first diabetes training academy

Abbott, a global player in diabetes care, has opened the region’s first dedicated training academy for healthcare professionals working with diabetes patients. The Abbott Diabetes Academy, in Dubai Healthcare City, will offer theoretical and practical training on new diabetes technologies to help support healthcare providers improve diabetes management.

According to the IDF Diabetes Atlas 415 million people live with diabetes across the globe. In the UAE, there are approximately one million people with type one and type two diabetes, with approximately 450,000 of those cases being undiagnosed.

With its mission to act as a Centre of Excellence, the academy will provide practical tools which can be applied by endocrinologists, diabetologists and educators to improve the region’s management of diabetes.

Dr Abdulrazzaq Al Madani, President of the Emirates Diabetes Society commented: “The number of cases of diabetes in the nation is on the rise, and it is crucial to support and provide healthcare professionals with the tools required to ensure patients are living their lives to the fullest potential.

The Abbott Diabetes Academy will equip physicians and diabetes experts to use advanced technologies to developnew and improved medical care for diabetics. Abbott’s effort in this space, specifically through the introduction of the academy, will help improve and save the lives of people affected with diabetes, filling an important gap in the region”. The Abbott Diabetes Academy program will be made up of learning modules which will include workshop sessions, practice sessions with new technologies and tools, and hands-on experience, which will be delivered by an expert faculty.

Whilst the main focus of the academy will be on training around innovative technologies such as flash glucose monitoring and ambulatory glucose profile reporting systems, it will also open the floor to an exchange of experience and clinical perspectives amongst regional experts and health care professionals.



Elsevier, HIMSS announce winners of Digital Healthcare Awards

Elsevier and HIMSS Middle East announced the winners of the third Middle East HIMSS-Elsevier Digital Healthcare Award 2017, which recognizes outstanding achievements and innovations globally in the use of health information technology.

The Award features two categories: Outstanding ICT Achievement and Outstanding ICT Innovation. In 2017 there were 14 submissions from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A leading theme among submissions was a focus on deploying solutions to enhance health information exchange across healthcare systems to positively impact patient and resource management.

The winners and finalists are:
Outstanding ICT Achievement Category

• Winner: Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Group, KSA

• Finalist: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, UAE

• Finalist: King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz University Hospital, KSA

Outstanding ICT Innovation Category

• Winner: Ministry of Health & Prevention (MOHAP), UAE

• Finalist: Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Group, KSA

• Finalist: Ain Al Khaleej Hospital, UAE

Commenting on the awards, Tim Hawkins, Managing Director, Clinical Solutions in EMEALA for Elsevier, said: “It is an exciting time for healthcare in the Middle East, with healthcare providers in the region investing in innovations that help achieve greater outcomes for patients.

“Elsevier extends congratulations to all of the winners and finalists from this year’s awards. We believe that technology is extremely important in answering demands on healthcare today and in the future, but this must also be joined with the use of credible, evidence-based information to drive better patient outcomes.”

Nominated in both categories and winner of the Outstanding ICT Achievement Category, Abdulelah Al Mayman, ITGVP, CIO, Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Group, KSA said: “We are extremely honoured to be nominated as finalist for both categories and to win the ICT Achievement Award. Dr Sulaiman Al Habib is committed to innovations across our hospitals. Our tele-radiology and Tele-ICU & Command and Control Center projects have improved patient care in both these departments tremendously since roll-out. We are happy to share our achievements with regional peers.”

Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Group’s winning project – ‘Moving to Centralize Radiology Information System (RIS) and Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACs) to Enhance Collaboration Across Multiple Sites and use Tele-Radiology’ – has contributed to higher reports quality, higher services quality with a centralized system and better resource management and staff allocation.

Since implementation there has been significant improvement leading to 77% of routine radiology cases reported within the first two hours in 2017 compared to 2016. Similarly, 7% emergency cases reported within 30 minutes or less in 2017 compared to 2016 and 17.6 % reported within 60 minutes in 2017 compared to 2016. Patient satisfaction has also increased tremendously.

Similarly, since the rollout of the PaCE Dashboard and BI Analytics Project within the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), benefits have been multifold. Patient waiting time in outpatient clinics across all MOHAP hospitals has reduced from 42 minutes to 22 minutes per month. 96% of emergency department patients are now discharged within 4 hours and there is 15% improvement in bed occupancy and bed utilization.

Dr Aamir Ali, Health Information Manager at MOHAP, UAE said: “We are delighted to win the HIMSS-Elsevier ICT Innovation Award. MOHAP wanted to develop a program that can deliver accurate and timely clinical, administrative, operational data and financial data, to help in monitoring and evaluating the delivery of healthcare at MOHAP hospitals in an efficient manner. Utilizing information technology as a tool to bring this project to life has brought about many positive outcomes for us and our patients. We strongly believe by delivering analytics to clinicians and analysts on the frontlines of care, as well as to executives in the boardroom, any healthcare organization can criticallyevaluate care processes and aggressively pursue the best opportunities for improving outcomes. In doing so, healthcare organizations will be rewarded with clinical and financial success in a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape.”

Islamic Advisory Group launches training manual on polio eradication

The Islamic Advisory Group for Polio Eradication (IAG) launched a new training manual for students of religious studies in support of the effort to eradicate polio. The manual, launched in Cairo on 22 November 2017, provides practical guidance on how to engage with local communities to advocate for vaccination as well as other maternal and child health issues.

The launch took place during the group’s fourth annual meeting that convened at the headquarters of Al Azhar Al Sharif in Cairo hosted by Grand Imam Dr Ahmed El-Tayyib.

The Grand Imam expressed his happiness to see the progress achieved to eradicate polio in a satisfactory and reassuring manner, saying: “As Muslims we shouldn’t still be discussing a subject that has already been settled a long time ago. This is a situation that has resulted from the misunderstanding of our Qur’an and religion and its teachings.”

He asserted Al Azhar Al Sharif’s continued support and announced that the Publishing and Translation Department of Al Azhar will translate the training manual into 20 languages.

IAG leaders thanked the health workers and Islamic scholars who are helping the world realize its goal of eradicating polio once and for all. They also recognized the leadership provided by the Governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan and the commitment of their fellow OIC Member States in maintaining adequate support.

Dr Shawky Allam, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, also commended the contribution of the IAG to polio eradication efforts by addressing religious-based refusals on the ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In the past few years, polio eradication efforts have been hindered in some areas of Muslim countries due to misperceptions about the vaccine and the lack of safe access to children. While levels of vaccine refusal are low, they are persistent in certain areas – the very places to which the trained students belong.

Hatem El-Khodary delivered the address of WHO Acting Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Dr Jaouad Mahjour, in which he commended the work of the IAG and its national affiliates in Afghanistan and Pakistan in supporting the efforts of the national governments and their implementing partners.

“Islam strongly advocates the preservation and protection of children’s health and well-being,” he said. “Countless prominent Islamic scholars, including those gathered under the IAG banner, have repeatedly confirmed this and have urged Muslim parents and influencers to ensure the immunization of all children.”

The launch of the training manual follows IAG’s efforts to prepare students of religious studies at key universities in predominantly Muslim countries to act as advocates for critical health initiatives particularly in high-risk areas where marginalized and underserved populations reside. As future religious leaders and scholars the students will be well placed within their local communities to promote healthy behaviour and dispel rumours and misinformation that hamper the work of vaccination teams and deprive their community members of protection against polio and other vaccine preventable diseases.

The manual was produced for the IAG by Al Azhar University’s International Islamic Center for Population Studies and Research (IICPSR), which has started training students of Shariah and Arabic language studies from the priority countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia.

In addition to polio eradication, the manual also covers topics related to routine immunization, breastfeeding, birth spacing, care-seeking behaviour for pregnant mothers, and hygiene and sanitation from both health as well as religious perspectives. This can help the students address unhealthy practices and taboos that have been inherited by their local communities when they are found.

Ambassador Muhammad Naeem Khan, Assistant Secretary General to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), commended IAG’s expansion into these other health initiatives.

“IAG’s decision to broaden the scope of its work to improve mother and child health through raising awareness about healthy behaviours and best practices in seeking care is a timely initiative,” he said.

“The OIC will continue to accord special significance to the health issues due to their crucial role for the socio-economic development of its Member States.”

The IAG plans to expand the training programme to national universities in Afghanistan and Pakistan where polio remains endemic, as well as in Africa where some countries remain at risk of seeing the disease resurge. These countries are among those with the highest maternal and child mortality rates worldwide.

HMC successfully performs Qatar’s second liver transplant from a living donor

The Organ Transplant Team at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Hamad General Hospital has successfully performed Qatar’s second ever liver transplant from a living donor. The country’s first liver transplant from a living donor was performed at the end of 2016.

The recipient of this latest transplant was a 40-year-old Egyptian man who had been suffering from chronic liver disease. His 30-year-old brother donated part of his liver for the procedure.

Dr Yousef Al Maslamani, Medical Director of Hamad General Hospital and Director of the Qatar Center for Organ Transplantation said living donor liver transplantations are very complex.

“The transplant was planned and performed by HMC’s highly qualified team of liver transplant surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses, and technicians. World-renowned Japanese liver transplant surgeon Professor Yasuhiro Ogura supervised the procedures

He added that working with international specialists who are leaders in theirfield is in line with efforts to provide patients with access to renowned experts while also continuing to enhance the quality of healthcare services at HMC.

“The future of our population’s health and well-being depends on supplementing our existing expertise and this means working in close partnership with a wide array of leading international agencies and institutions to ensure our self-sufficiency. We remain focused on becoming a regional center of excellence in multi-organ transplantation,” said Dr Al Maslamani.

“Since the launch of the Qatar Organ Donation Center (HIBA), we have developed a robust deceased organ donation program. We are continuing to work to expand this program, raising public awareness about organ donation and the importance of registering as an organ donor. There are currently over a quarter of a million registered organ donors in the country, but the need for organ donors has never been greater. Choosing to become an organ donor truly is a life-saving decision.”

Qatar’s HMC marks 30 years of successful organ transplants

Qatar’s Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), recently marked 30 years of organ transplantation surgeries with an event to honour living organ donors and the families of deceased donors. It also acknowledged Qatari transplant recipients who chose to have their procedure in Qatar rather than go abroad, signaling a confidence in the high professionalism of the organ transplantation team operating at Hamad General Hospital.

Commenting on the milestone in November last year, Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health, said: “The success of Qatar’s organ transplantation program is something which we can be extremely proud of. With fairness and equity at its heart, our transplantation program has been recognized internationally.

“Qatar’s national strategy for organ transplantation is not only world-leading in terms of the clinical and ethical standards it applies, but also one that is appropriate to the healthcare needs of our growing country and our diverse population.”

In 1986 a surgical team at HMC performed Qatar’s first kidney transplant on a Qatari woman who received a donor kidney from her sister. Now, 30 years on, with a 98% success rate, HMC’s organ transplantation program is well regarded around the world.

Dr Yousuf Al Maslamani, Director of the Qatar Center for Organ Transplantation, said: “Over the last three decades, HMC has developed a robust deceased organ donation program, liver transplantation program, and pediatric kidney transplantation program.

“Last year saw the launch of our bone marrow transplantation program and currently we are at the final stage of preparation to launch pancreas transplantation and islet cell transplantation.

“The wider organ donation and transplantation program continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of our community and has been striving to fulfill its vision to provide the best quality care for all patients, irrespective of nationality, religion, or race,” he said.

Dr. Riadh Fadhil, Director of the Qatar Organ Donation Center, said: said the Center has worked tirelessly with the Qatar Center for Organ Transplantation to implement the Doha Donation Accord.

“HMC’s full commitment to the Doha Donation Accord has seen the number of registered donors increase significantly over the last five years from 2000 to more than 259,000,” Dr Riadh said. “The greater number of organ donors has led to an increase in kidney transplant procedures, which in turn as enabled new procedures to be implemented. It has also led to most of our patients choosing to have their procedures done in Qatar rather than travel abroad.”

RCSI-Dubai confers 69 Master’s students

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland- Dubai (RCSI-Dubai) conferred 69 students at its annual conferring ceremony. The event took place at Mohammed Bin Rashid Academic Medical Centre in Dubai Healthcare City and was attended by guest of honour, His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The graduates all work as healthcare professionals and as part of their Master’s qualifications they are now equipped with the leadership skills and expertise to address the healthcare needs of the UAE.

The graduates represent a broad spectrum of health professionals and include consultants, doctors, nurses, health managers, educators, pharmacists, laboratory technicians and other allied healthcare professionals who come from a wide variety of public and private health sector organisations.

RCSI-Dubai has seen a significant increase in enrolment this year, signaling the desire for healthcare professionals to further their education in leadership and management areas and in turn reach their career goals and better the outcome for patients. Over 600 students have now graduated in Healthcare Management, Quality and Safety in Healthcare Management and Leadership in Health Professions Education Masters Degrees and Diplomas from the institution since its inception in 2005.

Just over 80% of the 2017 graduates are female as RCSI-Dubai continues to place a strong emphasis on female empowerment to better help shape the region’s healthcare sector and 35% of the 2017 graduates are Emirati Nationals indicating the increasing focus on the need for local leadership.

The ceremony was also attended by a number of RCSI delegates including RCSI President Professor John Hyland who said: “More than 600 health professionals have now graduated from RCSI Masters programmes here in Dubai. Many of our alumni now hold significant leadership positions in the region and continue to make highly influential contributions to the development of quality healthcare. We are immensely proud of their success and we look forward to the 2017 graduating class continuing this tradition of healthcare leadership.”

RCSI is ranked in the top 2% of institutions worldwide in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2016- 2017). It is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide.

Established in 2005, RCSI-Dubai offers a Masters Degree in Healthcare Management and a Masters Degree in Quality and Safety in Healthcare - these programmes are accredited by the Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Education and by the National University of Ireland (NUI), Ireland’s largest university.

UAE MOHAP meets UN task force on NCDs

In the framework of strengthening preventive measures and reducing the incidence of non-communicable diseases, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) met with a UN interagency task force for Non-communicable diseases to review UAE experiences and discuss national multi-sectoral responses.

Dr Hussein Abdel-Rahman Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for Health Clinics and Centers, MOHAP said that the UAE seeks to strengthen international and regional cooperation to support the control of noncommunicable diseases, namely (diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic respiratory diseases). It also aims to implement prevention programs, develop health awareness and counseling programs, and mobilize governmental and non-governmental sectors to address non-communicable diseases. These will be achieved by promoting a holistic approach to ensure the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases focusing on the goals of the National Agenda for 2021. As well as the WHO global targets for 2025.

Dr Rand pointed out the importance of the visit and its contribution towards effective implementation of the national NCD plan 2017-2021. Uniting the efforts of the ministry and its national partners. The Ministry’s strategy aims to promote the practice of a healthy lifestyle for the UAE community and provide comprehensive and integrated health care in innovative and sustainable ways to ensure the prevention of diseases – all in line with the National Agenda 2021 to develop the health system and provide comprehensive health coverage based on the highest international standards.

The visit team included experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), FAO, and the UNRC for UAE. The program included meeting with members of the NCD national committee and other strategic partners. The agenda also covered visits to the Office of the Prime Minister, Sports and Youth Authority, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the Dubai Health Authority, and the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology.

Dr Buthaina Abdullah bin Belaila, Head of the non-communicable diseases section, MOHAP, said the participation of non-health sectors in development of the national plan for non-communicable diseases (2017-2021) and their engagement in monitoring and evaluation process was a raw model and exemplary.

The UN team praised the outstanding efforts of the country and the multi sectoral collaboration to achieve the national targets.

Qatar sets up National Trauma Registry

Qatar’s Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) officially launched the Qatar Trauma Registry, the first national trauma registry in the Arab world. The database will document the injuries of trauma patients and the acute care they receive. Through the registry, clinicians and public health officials will have the data needed to make better decisions toward reducing trauma incidents in the country.

Speaking at the launch in Doha in December, Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health, said: “Our vision for Qatar is to establish an inclusive trauma system that facilitates a coordinated approach with which to deliver the safest, most effective, and most compassionate care to all patients. The establishment of the Qatar Trauma Registry represents another milestone in the growth and development of our national trauma system; one that is based on international best practice and is designed to achieve the best possible health outcomes for patients while also improving our health system.”

Dr Hassan Al Thani, Head of Trauma and Vascular Surgery at HMC, under whose leadership the national trauma system and registry concepts were developed with the support of other ministries, noted that trauma registr ies are recognized globally as highly successful ways to reduce preventable deaths and associated losses.

“This program allows us to deliver a more integrated and enhanced system of trauma care in Qatar.

“The Qatar Trauma Registry is essentially a database that documents the injuries of trauma patients and the acute care they receive. It is designed to provide information that can be used to improve the efficiency and quality of trauma care delivery,” said Dr Al Thani. “With the data collected, we can identify gaps in the way injury victims are identified and transported to where they receive care.”

Dr Al Thani added: “Qatar has been benchmarking its trauma data internationally through a collaboration with the National Trauma Data Bank (a division of the American College of Surgeons), which is a global repository of trauma data.”

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is the main provider of secondary and tertiary healthcare in Qatar and one of the leading hospital providers in the Middle East.

Brig. Gen. Mohamed Saad Al Kharji, Director General of Traffic at the Ministry of Interior, said: “Injury is a leading cause of death and disability in people under 45 years old in Qatar. Today’s announcement is a significant step towards improving trauma services across the country.

“We want people to keep their safety, and the safety of others, always in mind. With the data we collect it will be easier for us to highlight the main areas of concern where more preventative measures need to be introduced to safeguard the population.”

  • The American College of Surgeons’ National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) -- National Trauma Data Standard (NTDS) Data Dictionary

WISH launches Young Innovators competition

The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) has launched its Young Innovators competition, which will form part of the recently announced fourth edition of WISH. WISH’s Young Innovators competition gives people under the age of 30 the opportunity to present novel healthcarerelated products and innovations globally to an international audience of policy makers and influencers at WISH 2018, which will take place at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha on 13 and 14 November 2018.

Speaking during his opening address at the recent London Innovation in Healthcare Summit, Professor The Lord Darzi of Denham, Executive Chair of WISH, invited talented young innovators to apply to the competition.

“We all understand that innovation is our hope to building a healthier tomorrow Dr Hassan Al Thani, Head of Trauma and Vascular Surgery at HMC speaks at the launch of the Qatar Trauma Registry and therefore it is vital that we provide a platform for today’s young minds to bring forward their novel ideas. Today’s gathering emphasizes our joint commitment to look for novel outcomes at the intersection of innovation and healthcare,” Lord Darzi said.

The London event was held at the Royal Horticultural Halls on December 11 and was organized by WISH in collaboration with London-based Imperial College Health Partners and Imperial College’s Institute of Global Health Innovation. During the event, WISH took the opportunity to showcase talented young Arab innovators including Dr Ahmad Nabeel from Kuwait, inventor of ‘Virtual Beam and the Self-Cleaning Laparoscope’, which offers an innovative way of cleaning a laparoscope’s lens without having to remove the laparoscope from the patient, thereby minimizing risk of infection and significantly cutting surgery time.

Also present at the London event was Syrian entrepreneur Anwar Almojarkesh. He demonstrated his ‘Braci’ technology, which uses a mobile application to provide communication support for people with hearing loss and also for the elderly, their families, and carers.


Commenting on his participation in the event, Almojarkesh said: “Being part of WISH since 2015 and having the opportunity to connect with leaders from the healthcare industry has allowed our company to move forward here in the UK, Qatar and beyond. Now we are recognized as one of the only Arabic assistive technology companies in the market helping people with hearing loss, and we’ve been able to prove that technology can be integrated with healthcare knowledge to make life easier and safer.”

The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) is a global healthcare community dedicated to capturing and disseminating the best evidence-based ideas and practices. WISH is an initiative of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) and is under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, its Chairperson.

To apply for WISH 2018 Young Innovators competition, visit:



Date of upload: 18th Jan 2018

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