International Family Medicine Conference & Exhibition opened on Sunday with a keynote speech by Professor Tawfik A.M. Khoja, director general of executive board of Health Ministers’ Council for GCC states, Saudi Arabia.
The event, being held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center, is considered an important platform for professional interaction and scientific discourse among health care specialists and practitioners to develop health care services in medical facilities, to keep up with global developments and to discuss various common diseases.
“Statistics and epidemiological studies in a number of GCC states have shown that diabetes has reached pandemic proportions, thus constituting a health risk on the national level. The Gulf community is either infected or is likely to be infected at high prevalence rates, as compared to other communities. Scientific surveys have confirmed that the situation is getting even worse, as diabetes incidence rates ranged between 12.3 percent and 24 percent in GCC countries,” said Tawfik.
He expressed his appreciation over the important role played by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum who is sponsoring the event and to Dubai Health Authority’s prominent and leading role in promoting services in all medical and health care facilities to an extent that they had set an example to be followed on local, GCC, and regional levels.
The event, inaugurated by Khaled Al-Kamda, director general of the Community Development Authority (CDA) discussed different health topics on the opening day.
The conference’s agenda includes a number of intensive scientific sessions and workshops to improve public health and address non-communicable diseases.
The event hosts 60 participating companies from 50 countries and a number of professional speakers, and it is expecting a turnout of 2,000 visitors.
“The event seeks to contribute to the development of the health sector in the city of Dubai, and promote the concepts of family medicine, treatment programs, and continuing education in addition to transferring the health program in an optimal way to the community,” said Dr. Abdul Salam Al-Madani, executive director of the event.
Dr. Wen-Ta Chiu, minister of health and welfare in Taiwan who came with a delegation consisting of more than 40 officials and specialists from the medical sector and government of Taiwan, said that Dubai has seen tremendous growth in all areas of health care over the past decade.
“We are interested to learn more about the international health care system and governance being adopted and also share our expertise through the development of bilateral relationships in the field of health care services between Taiwan and Dubai; as a result, we will be capable of creating a better future by utilizing academic exchange along with promoting medical tourism,” Dr. Chiu added.
Dr. Ramadan Ibrahim, director of health and regulation department, DHA, said that the event also aims to promote medical tourism in the city of Dubai with the goal to become a major international medical tourism hub as it rapidly expands its health care sector and loosens visa requirements for patients.
“Dubai will soon host a prestigious regional medical tourism congress, which will be the first of its kind in the Middle East bringing together all critical elements necessary to promote, sustain and develop the medical tourism initiative,” Dr. Ibrahim added.
Meanwhile, a new rule requiring compulsory health insurance for all Dubai residents formally went into effect on Saturday. According to the legislation, phase one of the project requires companies with 1,000 or more employees to provide their workers with health insurance by October.
Dr. Mohamed Al-Shareef, a consultant in Family Medicine and Supervisor of Security Forces Hospital, Makkah and Dr. Patricia McWalter of King Faisal Hospital are the other well-known participants from Saudi Arabia. The three-day event will conclude on Tuesday.