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Congress To Discuss Quality Policy, Strategy And Implementation For The GCC’s US$133.19bn Healthcare Industry
(19 December 2012)


Over 70 medical experts from the GCC and across the world are confirmed to participate at the Patient Safety and Quality Congress Middle East in Abu Dhabi, 2013. According to a new report by Frost & Sullivan the GCC healthcare industry is forecasted to reach US$133.19bn by 2018, with patient safety a key priority for local health authorities.

It is widely recognised that in the Middle East patients are traditionally uninformed about health care, medical practice is complex and often autonomous, medical quality is largely based on patient perception and medical errors are viewed as unforeseeable individual-driven mistakes unlikely to reoccur. To answer these challenges the Middle East health authorities have publicly declared their commitment to building a healthcare culture open to learning from adverse events and establishing a collaborative leadership that strives for excellence in quality and patient safety.

Health authorities in Abu Dhabi have launched a series of preventive measures to help residents protect themselves from debilitating health conditions. New sets of standards have been launched by the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) to have facilities across the emirate offer a number of different screenings to check for diseases among young children. Furthermore, a second screening programme will also be implemented to ensure that children under the age of six receive regular medical checks.

Abu Dhabi is also continuing its Weqaya programme that screens Emirati adults over the age of 18 for cardiovascular disease by checking blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Additionally, HAAD has also launched a number of health and safety campaigns to raise awareness for preventive healthcare. Some of these campaigns include: the anti-smoking campaign; the Cancer Wave Health Promotion; campaigns to reduce incidents regarding falling from heights and falling objects; and more.

According to Resolution No. (5) at the 57th conference of GCC Health Ministers’ Council held in Geneva in May 2004, ‘Patient Safety’ is one of the priorities of Quality of Health. In addition, Resolution No. (3) at the 59th conference in May 2005 provided approval on the incorporation of two programmes – Quality Assurance and Patient Safety – into one program titled ‘Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety’.

As the Executive Board, Health Ministers Council for Cooperation Council, continues to work on the endorsement and circulation of the Gulf standards for patient safety - due to be finalized in February 2014 - regional health Ministries prioritize patient safety and quality initiatives. The region has witnessed a recent increased focus on technological advancement with many facilities adopting e-health services to automate processes and significantly enhance quality and cost efficiency.

Organised by i2i Events Group in partnership with the Health Authority in Abu Dhabi (HAAD), supported by the Health Ministers Council for the Cooperation Council and the Saudi Quality Council, the Patient Safety and Quality Congress Middle East will take place from 24 – 27 March 2013 at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

At the 68th conference held in Abu Dhabi in February 2010, Resolution No. (2) highlighted ‘Jeddah’s declaration on Patient Safety’ as a working platform to be implemented in the Council States. Furthermore, the update and integrated ‘Gulf strategic plan for Quality and Patient Safety’ (2010/2015) was approved at the 72nd Executive Body Meeting in April 2010.

Prof. Tawfik Khoja, Director General Executive Board, Health Ministers Council for Cooperation Council, said: “The Patient Safety and Quality Congress Middle East 2013 will give us a unique platform to address the challenges facing the GCC. Even though there is growing investment in the healthcare sector and the industry’s future looks favourable, healthcare infrastructure in GCC countries lags developed nations in terms of hospital beds, diagnostic labs, clinics, and medical staff. Furthermore, there are limited medical education options in the region as this industry is highly dependent on expatriates.

“We must take proactive steps to invest in both healthcare infrastructure and quality education. By developing regional content, we can be sure to earn a reputation of being the region that offers the absolute best standards in healthcare.”

Giles Cummings, Divisional Director, i2i Events Group, said: “i2i Events Group, the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), The Health Ministers Council for Cooperation Council and the Saudi Quality Council are honoured to host some of the most prominent organisations in the world at the seminal Patient Safety & Quality Congress Middle East 2013. We will discuss, debate, and decide the future of regional patient safety processes and policy. As we are all aware these have been unsettling times and a period of uncertainty across the globe. However, the region’s healthcare sector has maintained a steady pace of development and continues to strive for excellence.

Cummings continued, “The theme of ‘implementing quality systems and embedding a culture of safety’ could not be more relevant as the sector prepares for uniform quality standards. The invaluable Congress will unite regional and international experts to share the latest evidence-based information on patient safety best practices, technological solutions, partnerships and investment opportunities.”

International best practices and case studies will be showcased by globally recognised speakers including: Paula Wilson, President & Chief Executive Officer at Joint Commission International (JCI); Dr. Jonas Egebart, Senior Advisor, Danish Society for Patient Safety; Prof. Aziz Sheikh, Professor of Primary Care Research & Development and Director of Research - Centre for Population Health Sciences, Edinburgh University; Sue Chapman, Safer Care Associate, NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement; Dr. Maaike Langelaan, Senior Researcher Patient Safety, Netherlands Institute for Healthcare Research; Dr. Kevin Stewart, Clinical Director, Clinical Effectiveness and Evaluation Unit (CEEU), Clinical Standards Department, Royal College of Physicians.

Additionally, the conference will feature interactive masterclasses on leadership, risk management and technology that will reveal invaluable international, practical information and takeaway actions plans specific to organisations.

An innovative study tour of Sheikh Khalifa Medical City is also on the agenda at the 2013 Patient Safety and Quality Congress, showcasing how the facility has revolutionised patient care and improve patient safety through technology, IT systems, and appropriate accountability from staff.

Furthermore, regional patient safety challenges and solutions will be addressed by: Dr. Nashat Nafouri, Head of Quality Health Care Interest Group, Saudi Quality Council, KSA; Dr. Huda al-Ansari, Paediatric Infectious Diseases Consultant, Chairman, Infection Control Higher Committee, Ministry of Health, Bahrain; Dr. Samer Ellahham, Chief Quality Officer - Senior Cardiovascular Consultant, Cleveland Clinic Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, UAE; Dr. Zakaria Zaki al-Attal, Director of Quality & Performance Management Hospitals Services Sector, Dubai Health Authority (DHA), UAE; Dr. Shakil Ahmed, Assistant Medical Director (Quality & Patient Safety), Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar; Dr. Jamal Al-Khanji, Director, Healthcare Quality Management Department, Supreme Council of Health, Qatar; and Hanan Balkhy, Director, GCC Centre for Infection Control.

For more information on the Patient Safety and Quality Congress Middle East 2013, please visit:

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