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Public-private tie-ups to drive ME healthcare

Abu Dhabi, May 18, 2010

Public private partnerships play a dominant role in driving the sustainable growth of the Middle East healthcare sector, said a panel of expert healthcare professionals and media representatives at a recent summit in Abu Dhabi.

Speaking at the third 'GE Healthcare Middle East Media Summit' held in the UAE capital, healthcare experts  underscored the need for governments to focus on an ‘earlier model’ of healthcare delivery based on timely diagnosis and treatment, which ultimately benefits the patients.

In his opening address, Nabil Habayeb, president & CEO of GE Middle East and Africa, highlighted the importance of GE’s healthymagination initiative that is focused on sustainable healthcare by cutting costs, improving quality and enhancing access of care.

“GE has two powerful drivers for sustainable growth – ecomagination, which is about a healthier planet; and healthymagination (for healthier people). Supported by strong public and private sector partnerships, these can address the growing demand for healthcare delivery and bring marked efficiencies across full-spectrum of the economy,” he noted.

Aziz Koleilat, general manager, GE Healthcare for the Middle East, pointed out that with the population in the region projected to grow by some 30 per cent to 53.5 million in the next decade, and increasing urbanization, the society faces new healthcare challenges.

'There are increased health risks associated with the environment and factors like smoking, unbalanced diets, sedentary living, and the potential for disease outbreaks. All this put a burden on resources – both human and financial. This can be addressed only through earlier care by leveraging technological advances,' he stated.

To provide clear solutions-based insights, the summit discussed pertinent topics including how advanced technologies will improve hospital efficiency and productivity, the role of partnerships in driving change, innovations in healthcare and regional healthcare trends with a focus on breast cancer.

The summit also discussed the relevance of healthymagination to the region, especially the GCC countries, where lifestyle diseases are on the rise with obesity, diabetes and stress being pressing challenges faced by the population.

Dr Tariq S Al Khuwaitir, chairman of Department of Medicine and Medical Director, King Saud Medical Complex, Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, highlighted the need for knowledge-sharing and competency building.

He elaborated on the success in building leaders in the Saudi healthcare system in partnership with GE Healthcare.

In addition to hosting a Saudi delegation at Crotonville LIG, GE Healthcare is organizing course sessions in Riyadh, which will reach at least 300 leading healthcare professionals this year.

This ‘Leadership, Innovation and Growth’ model is now being replicated in Saudi Arabia through hands-on learning sessions, and follow-up practices at the workplace where participants spend three weeks applying the new skills, he added.

Dr Al Khuwaitir also highlighted the role of GE’s performance solutions in achieving increased hospital efficiency and productivity by achieving as much as 90 per cent operation room utilization, 44 per cent increase in efficiency and 41 per cent decrease in cancellations.

At the summit, Dr Finn Göldner, director of Health System Financing at Abu Dhabi Health Authority, discussed the state of healthcare in the UAE capital emphasizing on the emirate’s health system reform.

Haider Khan, head of Business Development at Etisalat – Health & Hospitality; and Imad Ghandour, executive director – Private Equity and head of Strategy & Research, Gulf Capital, discussed how partnerships drive change in the region.

Highlighting the emphasis on public private partnerships, GE had recently signed a MoU with Etisalat to introduce the latest healthcare solutions in the UAE.

Etisalat will leverage GE Healthcare’s innovative solutions and expertise in capturing patient information. This will result in the development and offering of medical data management and remote clinical support services via Etisalat’s state-of-the-art telecom infrastructure.

Imad Ghandour stressed on Gulf Capital’s vision of creating the largest chain of radiology centers in the Mena region, and reiterated its partnership with GE Healthcare in bringing in advanced diagnostic technologies to the region.

Radiology centers offering the latest advances will be opened in all major areas in Egypt and Saudi Arabia by the end of 2011, in addition to upgrading the equipment and services in five centers this year.
 
Abdulmohsen M Alsaawi, Emergency Medicine Consultant, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, discussed the applications of Vscan, GE Healthcare’s new, pocket-sized visualization tool developed to provide physicians with imaging capabilities at the point-of-care.

Dr Nouralhuda Karmani, head of Breast Imaging Unit, Al Sabah Hospital, Kuwait, provided an overview on regional trends in breast cancer. A question and answer session followed featuring the participants and the media.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: GE | Public private partnership | healthcare growth |

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