Arab Health Plays Host to UAE’s Premier Forum on Rheumatic Diseases
Internationally renowned doctors join together with local experts to call for awareness and education. Disease management and miss-diagnosis were two of the points raised.
Arab Health 2007 yesterday played host to a forum set up and arranged with education and awareness as its two key messages. The health forum, the first of its kind in the UAE, offered insight into not only the scientific side of rheumatic diseases but also into the minds of the victims of the various diseases. The international speakers joined together a locally based doctor to present to the gathered audience of medical professionals, media and patients their plea for the enhanced education of general practitioners and the public alike.
Dr Jamal Saleh, LRCP&S (IRE), M.Sc. (Rheum), MRCP (UK), Head of Rheumatology Unit, Dubai Hospital, UAE said: “One of the most shocking statistics related to Rheumatoid Arthritis is that in the developed world 50% of all sufferers are unable to continue in gainful employment. Of course there are exceptions but on average it takes the disease 10 years to render a victim unfit for work” Dr Saleh, who was one of the events speakers, added “This does not mean the Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferer cannot be an active member of society however. With a wider education of the public at large people will be able to see the vitality that remains inside the spirit of the Rheumatoid Arthritis victim.”
Dr Saleh was joined by Dr Gerd Bumester from Germany, Dr Mohammed Khan who lives in the USA and Dr Gabrielle Brieden who also practices in Germany. An additional uniqueness of this event was that both Dr Khan and Dr Breiden are lifelong victims of rheumatic diseases, Dr Khan of Ankylosing Spondylitis and Dr Breiden of Rheumatoid Arthritis. All four doctors stressed the importance of education and awareness and also directed special attention to the role early diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
Currently over US$86 billion is spent on rheumatic diseases worldwide through patient care, medical treatments and insurance costs. Everyone is at risk from at least one kind of rheumatic disease. Statistics discussed at the event showed Rheumatoid Arthritis affects three women to every one man and Ankylosing Spondylitis is the reverse in affecting three men to every one woman. TNF (Tumuor Necrosis Factor alpha) is something that the human body produces to aid inflammation. TNF blockers (which stop excess production of TNF) are seen by many to be an advancement in the disease management field, a field Abbott has long been associated with.
Abboud Bejjani, General Manager of Abbott said during the forum “We are pleased to have been able to offer our service. We have played a continuous role in the advancements regarding disease management and our ongoing commitment to patient care is something we will maintain, it is something we are proud of.” Mr Bejjani Concluded “I have found the messages presented by today’s speakers quite inspirational. I would hope that the ideals of awareness and education take hold throughout not only the UAE but the Gulf as a whole.”