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Increasing access to health care

The show halls at the Dubai International Exhibition Center were ?lled to capacity again as thousands of medical companies from around the world descended on the city to show off their latest innovations. It is always a good place to gauge the state of healthcare development globally. What is pleasing to note is the number of large healthcare companies who are putting time and money into developing more affordable hi-tech devices which in turn help increase access to quality health care, particularly in the less advanced economies. We spoke to several companies – too many to cover in this issue unfortunately, although we do provide a few highlights.

There have been several interesting developments in oncology research. A notable highlight is the development of a single blood test that can be used for eight cancer types. The test, called CancerSEEK, is a unique noninvasive, multianalyte test that simultaneously evaluates levels of eight cancer proteins and the presence of cancer gene mutations from circulating DNA in the blood. Read about this in The Laboratory news section of this issue.

Also of interest, particularly as it affects the region, is the Phase 1 trial of a MERS antibody – SAB-301 – by the US NIH. The results are promising as the antibody was shown to be safe and well tolerated by a small group of healthy volunteers. The next step is a larger study of SAB-301 in patients infected with MERS coronavirus.

Mecomed – the medical devices, imaging and diagnostics trade association for the Middle East and North Africa – recently issued a statement saying it has teamed up with AdvaMed, APACMed and MedTech Europe, which represent manufacturers of medical devices and diagnostics around the world, to institute policy changes that affect how MedTech companies support the training and education of healthcare professionals in the region and globally. One of the key revisions in the codes is the elimination of “direct sponsorship” of HCP attendance at third-party educational events, such as conferences. Read more about this important development in this issue.

It has long been known that nurses often don’t get the recognition they deserve. In an effort to correct this, the WHO and the International Council of Nurses have thrown their weight behind the Nursing Now campaign, a three-year global health initiative of the Burdett Trust for Nursing. The initiative, launched in February, aims to raise the status and pro?le of nursing and give nurses a more prominent role in global health policy development and planning. It also aims to promote greater investment in developing nursing and midwifery education, practice and regulation. There is more on this initiative in this issue.

Callan Emery

(Mar - Apr 2018)

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