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The next emerging infectious disease

The WHO has declared the Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern following a surge in the number of cases of babies born with microcephaly in South and Central America which appear to be linked to Zika virus infection during pregnancy. The Zika virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The declaration will help free up funds for urgent research initiatives to find out more about the virus and develop a vaccine. There have been no cases of Zika virus infection in the Middle East, but countries in the region have been warned to take recautions as the Aedes aegypti mosquito, also responsible for transmitting dengue, is found in some countries in the region.

Another large Arab Heath exhibition has come and gone in
Dubai. The 41st Arab Health Exhibition and Congress saw more than 4000 companies exhibiting their products. We spoke to some of them. Most were very upbeat about future prospects for business in the region saying the region was still experiencing rapid growth because of the continued expansion of healthcare infrastructure.

To mark World Cancer Day on 4 February, the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional office issued a plea for people to stop smoking, eat healthy food and keep active. The WHO said the Middle East region is projected to have the highest growth in cancer in the world over the next 20 years.

Dr Ala Alwan, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, noted that the rise in cancer rates regionally was due to unhealthy lifestyles, but also limited access to treatment. He said there are serious gaps in access to treatment and quality cancer care in many countries of this Region. “Health systems need to be strengthened by moving towards universal health coverage which means ensuring health care services to all people at affordable
costs.”

In this issue you’ll find reports on the above, along with medical news, research reports and new product reviews.

Callan Emery
Editor
editor@MiddleEastHealthMag.com

(Mar-Apr 2016)

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