Collaborative leadership is the key to success for the region’s changing healthcare industry

By Rami Rajab, Chairman at Mecomed and Vice-President E.M. Market Access, LivaNova

The MENA region is currently witnessing a major socio-economic transformation. Efforts in the healthcare industry are now focused on increasing the level and capacity of public and private services to meet a larger demand, fueled by an increasing population and the hope of an improved quality of life.

The growing investment in education and the increase and attraction of talent in healthcare is helping to position the region as a world renowned hub for innovation and for transforming ideas into reality. New technologies, forward thinking and a clear vision are playing an important role in moving forward. Healthcare is an excellent example of how the region has developed with innovation and new technologies, clearly contributing to saving lives and in improving the wellbeing of patients.

The region’s medical technology market is advancing at a rapid rate with no sign of slowing down. With the value of the industry projected to reach $12 billion by 2021, it is no surprise 27 of the world’s top medical technology companies are regionally based in the UAE and consider MENA a fertile ground to grow and prosper while bringing in high quality solutions.

We are witnessing a revolution in healthcare technology, which is allowing better diagnostics, prevention and cure of diseases. MedTech products will now usually see a lifecycle of 24-48 months as companies work to upgrade devices that will further generate long-term economic value, using minimally invasive technologies, remote monitoring devices to patients’ e-health applications.

Despite fruitful growth, there is a crucial need for the healthcare sector to carry on developing innovative solutions to improve patient outcomes. Higher life expectancy coupled with an increase in obesity and associated illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke and kidney failure is putting a burden on health services, and as a result, increased demand for high quality products. With increased demand comes less hospital beds and eager patients desperate to recover faster.

The long term solution lies in better planning and building stronger Private Public Partnerships. Local Health Authorities and Medical Device companies need to join forces and have an open dialog on how to cooperate to improve outcomes.

At Mecomed we are building strong ties with authorities including, the UAE MOH, the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, amongst others and we recently participated to a meeting in Jordan with regulatory officials and the World Health Organization to enhance our cooperation in regulating medical devices to ensure the safety and quality of the products used to diagnose, treat and cure patients but also to have the latest technologies available for healthcare professionals.

Another important step is to help fill the gender gap between male and female leaders in the sector. As doctors, nurses and administrators, women take up more than half of the workforce but only constitute twenty percent of executive and board member positions. There is a potential for women to pave the way forward, provide new insights and ideas. For example, we’ve seen here in the UAE, her Royal Highness Princess Haya bint al Hussein leading the development of the Dubai Healthcare City and the work she has done to establish it as a globally recognized center of healthcare excellence.

That’s why our 2017 MENA MedTech Forum, taking place on 8h and 9th March, will include a focus on the role of women in healthcare, and how valuable their contribution is at a senior level. The Forum will also address pressing industry topics, such as the global and regional economic outlook and impact on healthcare spending in MENA, solutions for  sustainable quality healthcare in the region, and worldwide trends towards outcome-based healthcare.

The Mena MedTech Forum 2017 will take place on 8 and 9 March 2017 at Mohammed Bin Rashid Academic Medical Center in Healthcare City. For more information and tickets, view here: http://www.menamedtechforum.com/

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