As healthcare advances, MENA experts discuss keeping up, regional challenges

Published November 9th, 2015 - 07:19 GMT

Experts from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) healthcare industry have committed to navigating through a rapidly changing landscape to ensure healthcare provision in the region is second-to-none. That was the message from an expert panel bought together to discuss ‘Managing changing healthcare dynamics in MENA’ on the first day of the 2nd MENA MedTech Forum.

Hosted by Mecomed, the Middle East and North Africa Medical Devices and Diagnostics Trade Association, the two-day Forum is being held at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Academic Medical Centre, Dubai Healthcare City, and has attracted more than 200 medical-technology executives, regulators and healthcare professionals.

The overarching theme of the 2nd MENA MedTech Forum is ‘The Changing Face of Healthcare in the MENA Region’ and it provides a platform for participants to share insights and best practice on local critical issues, including regulatory, educational and market entry strategies needed to integrate medical technology into the complex healthcare systems of the region.

The Forum was opened by Professor Tawfik A M Khoja, Director General, Executive Board, Health Ministers’ Council for Cooperation Council States, KSA and Dr. Amin Hussain Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Policy and License Sector, Ministry of Health, UAE.

Khoja said over the last 10 years the MENA region has witnessed a thorough revision to the healthcare system and it continues to evolve.

“The strategic planning of the healthcare provision in the GCC countries is continuously modified in order to accommodate the changing needs of patients and to also keep up with the trends of healthcare treatments and innovations,” he said.

“We are increasing healthcare training and leadership development to ensure we see the best outcomes for patients and we need to ensure we have adequate budget allocated to healthcare to do so. We need to continue to put patients first and work towards a comprehensive and integrated healthcare system in the GCC.”

A panel session, moderated by Nenad Pacek, President, Global Success Advisors and Co-founder, CEEMEA Business Group, bought together leaders from government, industry, and academia including Dr. Amin Hussain Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Policy and License Sector, Ministry of Health, UAE, to discuss strategies to adapt and thrive in the rapidly changing healthcare sector and ensure that patients receive world-class treatment.

Following the panel discussion, Dr. Al Amiri expanded on the ever changing healthcare landscape in the region.

“Unlike many countries in Europe, the UAE has a high population growth rate with over 200 different nationalities, therefore we must ensure that we align our healthcare strategies with the needs of all our communities by determining which treatments facilities, equipment and technologies best match these needs,” he said.

“The government is succeeding at this through establishing strategic partnerships across the healthcare private sector, which also ensures a high quality service is provided to patients and access to the best treatments and facilities are maintained.”

Having recently celebrated its strategic collaboration with Mecomed, Dubai Science Park’s Executive Director, Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi, also highlighted the importance of partnerships and collaboration in the UAE’s healthcare market.

“The UAE’s healthcare sector has substantial growth potential on the back of the significant market size, and as a result, Dubai is well placed to evolve into an innovative regional hub for R&D investment for major market players.

Partnerships and collaboration are key to developing the UAE’s healthcare sector, and Dubai Science Park is in a position to facilitate this. Our aim is to develop relationships with the highest levels of Government and healthcare industry representatives to drive the potential of the industry and ensure it is a major contributor to economic growth in the UAE.”

Mecomed Chairman Mr. Rami Rajab said the main objective of the forum was to bring all sectors of the MedTech industry together for greater collaboration, which is critical to solve the region’s healthcare challenges.

“The success of events like this depends on the caliber of the speakers – such as the gentlemen we had on the panel this morning – but also on the attendees who contribute to the discussion and bring their own perspectives and ideas,” Rajab said.

“And for the second year running we have both at the MENA MedTech Forum,” he said.

“It’s inspiring to witness the level of engagement and commitment from everyone attending; it’s through this kind of collaboration that the MedTech industry is able to improve access to high-quality healthcare for patients, create innovative solutions and jointly shape the future of healthcare in the region,” said Rajab.

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