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Dubai Health Authority holds Virtual Forum to Mark UAE Innovates 2021

Dubai Health Authority holds Virtual Forum to Mark UAE Innovates 2021

Wednesday, February 24, 2021/ Editor -  

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• DHA discusses healthcare innovations during COVID-19
• Al Ketbi highlights the importance of enhancing health innovation
• Doctor for Every Citizen telemedicine service has provided 88,000 telemedicine consultations since January last year 
• More than 1.5 million medicines were home delivered to patients across the UAE as part of DHA’s DAWAEE initiative 
 
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 24 February 2021:  The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is holding a series of virtual forums this week in line with the UAE’s Innovation Month (UAE Innovates 2021).
 
The DHA is participating in the initiative with an aim to further its drive towards creativity and innovation in the health sector. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of research, innovation and technology in the health sector. 
His Excellency Awadh Al Ketbi, Director General of the Dubai Health Authority emphasized the importance of fostering and promoting a culture of innovation, particularly in the health sector. He added that leveraging an increased focus on research, new technologies, innovation and data analytics has a huge potential to advance healthcare to benefit both healthcare providers and patients. 
 
He highlighted that in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and the National Strategy for Advanced Innovation, the DHA will continue to focus on healthcare innovation to further advance the health sector and provide patient-centered care. 
Senior DHA officials including Dr. Alawi Alsheikh Ali, Deputy Director General and Dr. Mohammed Al Redha, Director of Project Management Office, Informatics and Smart Health attended the virtual forum.
 
Doctor for Every Citizen initiative: 
Dr. Alia Rafi, Acting Director of Specialized Program Services Department at DHA’s Primary Health Care Sector highlighted that telehealth is emerging to be a vital service globally in the new healthcare landscape. 
Dr. Rafi said, “DHA quickly adapted its existing telemedicine platform and expanded it with agility to ensure we provide community members with a virtual health consultation service during COVID-19.”
The Dubai Health Authority’s (DHA’s) Doctor for Every Citizen telemedicine service has provided 88,000 telemedicine consultations during the period from January 2020. Out of the total consultations, 7251 were medical consultations for COVID-19 patients and 13,437 were COVID-19 related consultations such as queries on vaccination eligibility, screening procedures etc. 
 
The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) launched the 24/7 Doctor for Every Citizen initiative in 2019 to achieve Article Five of the Fifty-Year Charter, in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
 
Given the importance of this service, especially for COVID-19 patients, the authority expanded the scope and capacity of this service. 
 
From the beginning of this service until now, the DHA has increased the number of doctors from 10 to 52. The DHA increased the number of stations used for virtual consultations from six to 16 stations. Doctors have been trained in sign language to provide this service to people of determination. 
 
DAWAEE initiative: 
Dr. Ali Al Sayed, Director of the Pharmaceutical Services Department at the DHA highlighted the success of the DAWAEE initiative for home delivery of medicines. 
 
DAWAEE is an initiative to home-deliver medications for DHA patients, senior citizens and for people of determination. 
 
Dr. Al Sayed said the DHA rapidly expanded the scope of this service and extended the free-of-cost home delivery service across the UAE during COVID-19. The number of specialized mobile buses increased to 30 and DHA collaborated with Talabat and Aramex. 
 
All these measures, led to home delivery of 1.5 million medicines and 500,000 medical items across the UAE during a span of one year from December 2019 to December 2020.
 
78 scientific papers:
Dr. Hamda Khansaheb, Head of the Medical Research Department at the DHA’s Medical Education and Research Department, stated that 78 scientific papers were completed, which were approved by the Scientific Research Ethics Committee last year.
She pointed out that in 2020; the DHA collaborated with many scientific and academic institutions for medical research.
DHA and Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences conducted a joint study on the diagnostic accuracy for COVID-19 saliva testing in children.
Based on the results of the study, Dubai Health Authority (DHA) facilities adopted saliva testing for children aged 3 to 16 years. The research-driven and evidence-based move was possible due to the study.  
 
The DHA, MBRU and Al Jalila Foundation also carried out a study on the genome sequencing of the COVID-19 virus.
 
The authority participated in the UAE University research on the impact of COVID-19 on mental health of health professionals. 
 
DHA also participated in a global study conducted by experts at the University of Birmingham-led NIHR Global Research Health Unit on Global Surgery. The research examined the outcomes of patients undergoing surgery after contracting coronavirus.
 
Additionally, the DHA Medical Education Department also collaborated with Khalifa University and Sharjah University in the field of medical research.
 
3D printing:
Mai Al Dossari, Director of Health Innovation Centre at DHA highlighted the achievements of the DHA’s 3D printing lab, which is located in the DHA Innovation Centre as serves as a point of care for DHA hospitals.
 
The lab provides 3D printed models to surgeons at DHA hospitals who request for patient specific anatomical models allowing them to conduct detailed pre-operative analysis. 
 
Al Dosari said, “During the pandemic, we used 3D printing technology to print face shields with laser cut plastic. Additionally, we used 3D printing to design flexible straps to make wearing a mask more comfortable.
 
“We also used anti-microbial nano 3D material and refitted high-frequency touch-points across some health facilities as a preventive measure to further reduce the risk of disease transmission. 
 
“There is a huge potential that technologies such as 3D printing offer and we are keen to explore those with an aim to better patient care.”

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