Haya urges effective health strategy that serves all

Princess Haya (WAM)

HRH Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Thursday in her keynote speech at Leaders in Healthcare, urged the development of an effective health strategy that serves all.

The focus of this year's Leaders in Healthcare was 'specific drivers' for leaders spearheading the partnership in healthcare - government, patient and physician - to improve the bottom line yet contribute to the overall quality of patient care and a higher quality of life for all people.

"It is clear that an effective health strategy that serves all must be far broader than medical interventions," said Princess Haya. "A whole range of actors -- both public and private -- must work in harmony and focus on prevention far more than we do today. The key is promoting healthy lifestyles -- raising the level of physical activity, improving the quality of our diets, reducing tobacco and other harmful substances and following simple public safety measures."

Princess Haya highlighted that the most destructive maladies worldwide and in the Gulf Region are not infectious diseases -- they are diseases we create with our own behavior - non-communicable diseases such as -- cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and some respiratory afflictions. She emphasised the importance of adopting practices to improve health, including regular physical checkups and dietary changes, both of which go a long way towards reducing the burden that such diseases take on the people of the Gulf Region.

"The largest single killer here today is type 2 diabetes and the UAE ranks second in the prevalence globally. In the next 15 years, the cancer incidence in the Middle East will surpass that in any other region, increasing between 100 and 180 percent," stated Princess Haya. "These diseases have reached epidemic proportions and with a clear warning to us on the horizon, we best not ignore it. For better or worse, today we are a part of a global health economy. The health of Emiratis and others in the region is increasingly tied to developments abroad."

Such developments, as she underlined, are global challenges that lie in lack of research, patient-centric care, smart technology and treatment. Furthermore, the costs of medical interventions and drug development, home or institutional supervision and care for the uninsured, continue to skyrocket. "Whatever practical steps we take on these issues, we cannot avoid the simple fact that each of us has a role to play in public health - in our own personal health, our family's and our community's," She concluded.

Topics of discussion throughout the day revolved around creating a �no wait' culture for elective care in healthcare, developing an approach that is more accessible and cost-effective, integrating delivery and financing of healthcare as well as the role of primary healthcare in Singapore.

The speaker faculty included some of the industry's foremost thinkers, pioneers and business leaders, such as Raj Raja Rayan OBE, former adviser to UK Secretary of Health, Dr. Nipit Piravej, MD, CEO of the World Medical Center Group in Bangkok, and other specialist speakers.

In addition to speaking at Leaders in Healthcare, Princess Haya also toured the Arab Health exhibition stands, including those belonging to the UAE Ministry of Health, SEHA, Dubai Healthcare City, and various others. Accompanying Her on the tour was HE Dr. Hanif Hassan, Minister of Health and Qadhi Al Murooshid, Director General, Dubai Health Authority, and other dignitaries.

The Arab Health Exhibition and Congress closed today at the Dubai World Trade Centre, featured more than 2800 exhibiting companies from 60 countries. Attended by in excess of 70,000 visitors it was the largest gathering ever of healthcare professionals in the Middle East.

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