The 2021 edition was visibly quieter in comparison to pre-pandemic years; however, the just-concluded Arab Health 2022 showed that the region is very much back to (healthcare) business.
Taking place 24-27 January alongside Medlab Middle East at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Arab Health 2022 was a much busier affair, welcoming around 4,000 exhibitors from more than 60 countries, and a projected combined 60,000 attendees.
We’ve rounded up the top UAE and GCC-focused headlines, in no particular order, for easy reading.
1. Mubadala Health announces Dubai entry
Mubadala Health – the new brand born out of Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Healthcare last year – announced its plans to enter Dubai, with its first facility already in progress.
Taking place in collaboration with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and the Ministry of Health & Prevention (MoHAP), the company’s first project will be a 11,600 sqm Jumeirah-based “advanced stand-alone day surgery and medical facility” set to launch in Q3 2022.
“Mubadala Health’s plan will help achieve the common national goals of improving the efficiency and competitiveness of the UAE health sector, and consolidating the country’s position as a leading destination for innovative health care, something which will reflect positively on realising the sustainable development goals,” said Abdul Rahman bin Mohammad bin Nasser Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, during the announcement at Arab Health 2022.
2. “World’s first healthcare metaverse platform” launched
Emirates Health Services (EHS) launched what it is calling the “world’s first healthcare metaverse platform”, reportedly offering a solution particularly helpful for those unable to physically commute to a clinic or hospital.
Currently in pilot stage, MetaHealth offers a virtual world of “doctors, health professionals, or representatives of three major hospitals in Dubai”. Patients only need a smart device to access the platform.
3. Another metaverse first by MoHAP
In keeping with the theme of virtual firsts, MoHAP unveiled its virtual customer services centre, which it is dubbing the “world’s first metaverse customer happiness service centre”.
The full version is expected to arrive by mid-2022.
4. Paperless medication trialled
MoHAP also showcased an “AR-powered” paperless medication packs project which aims to link packaging to updated drug information online. Patients can become “interactive” with the information through a virtual assistant.
The ministry said that the new project was to “enhance access to drug-related information in an easy and innovative way,” as well as “improve treatment outcomes and avoid medication errors”.
5. Homegrown healthtech venture KLAIM to receive up to $50M from Alkhair Capital
KLAIM, the Dubai-based insurtech platform, has signed an MoU with Alkhair Capital Saudi Arabia to “launch investment products worth $50 million to support healthcare providers in the Middle East and North Africa [MENA]” region.
“In light of the challenges faced by the healthcare sector related to cash flows from medical insurance service providers, KLAIM has effectively found the best innovative solutions to these challenges,” said Alkhair Capital MD and CEO, Khalid Al-Mulhem. “We believe in the ability of these solutions to revolutionise the MENA region’s healthcare and fintech industry and we are delighted to give our investors an opportunity to invest in this new revolution and support the growth of fintech and healthcare.”
In September 2021, MobiHealthNews reported that KLAIM had raised an additional $1.6 million in funding as part of plans to expand into Saudi Arabia and the United States.
6. UK’s King’s College Hospital announces second GCC entry
King’s College Hospital London (KCHL) – along with Ashmore Group and Saudi Bugshan Group – announced the launch of King’s College Hospital Jeddah (KCHJ), the first hospital by the UK institution in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The 32,000 sqm hospital is scheduled to open in the second half of 2023.
KCHL’s most recent launch in the region was in the UAE, with the opening of its first fully integrated hospital in Dubai in 2019. It also has other clinics and centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
7. Health monitoring and surveillance tech showcased
With governments keen to avoid a repeat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE’s MoHAP also launched and showcased disease monitoring and surveillance solutions at Arab Health 2022.
First up, SPHERE is an “e-platform for epidemiological surveillance and management that can be used or linked at the state level,” to share and exchange information pertaining to potential threats.
The ministry said that SPHERE aims to “provide an integrated system for early monitoring, follow-up, and management of events affecting public health and strengthen linkage with the government and private health sectors and other stakeholders.”
Its second project is a reported AI-powered Digital Health Monitoring Centre that can “curb the spread of communicable diseases based on the data of international organisations such as the World Health Organisation [WHO] and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC].”
8. New R&D labs for local healthcare research and manufacturing
Dubai Science Park (DSP) is set to launch three new research and development (R&D) laboratories this year, reported Gulf News.
Marwan Abdul Aziz Al Janahi, MD for DSP, told the UAE daily that the park has “nurtured” over 4,000 healthcare related professionals to pursue R&D and manufacturing. He added that activities taking place at DSP include vaccine research and manufacture, medicine and healthcare equipment production, and genomic research.
9. Abu Dhabi and Israel to explore bio-convergence
The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH) and the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) announced they are to collaborate on health innovation, with a particular focus on bio-convergence.
A relatively new term within healthcare and life science research, bio-convergence is defined as the “synergy between engineering/technology and computerised systems”.
Dror Bin, CEO of IIA, stated: “The agreement between the IIA and the DoH – Abu Dhabi is a unique opportunity to leverage Abu Dhabi’s advanced and booming healthtech ecosystem and Israel’s innovation capabilities in the area of healthcare.
“It is also an opportunity to advance a multidisciplinary innovative approach of bio-convergence – merging between the field of life sciences and medical technologies and engineering and AI.”
10. New ECG app authorised in UAE
The MoHAP also announced its authorisation of a new (ECG) application that reportedly provides 95% accurate, instant results.
Produced with ProCardio Medical Equipment Company, this new app can apparently be used to “accurately and quickly read, analyse, and diagnose the patient’s condition, which would be particularly important in dealing with critical cases, such as cardiac arrhythmia.”