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Public Private Partnerships Have Important Role in Growth of Healthcare Sector

A panel of expert healthcare professionals and media representatives observed that public private partnerships (PPPs) have a dominant role in driving the sustainable growth of the Middle East , at the third Middle East Media Summit in the capital of Abu Dhabi.

Healthcare professionals from around the Middle East region converged to debate on wide-ranging topics including the current state of healthcare. They underscored the need for governments to focus on an earlier model of healthcare delivery based on timely diagnosis and treatment, which ultimately benefits the patients.

Nabil Habayeb, President & CEO, GE Middle East and Africa, highlighted the importance of GEs healthymagination initiative that is focused on sustainable healthcare by reducing costs, improving quality and enhancing access of care to the people. GE has two powerful drivers for sustainable growth ecomagination, which is about a healthier planet; and healthymagination, which is for healthier people.

Aziz Koleilat, General Manager, GE Healthcare for the Middle East, added: With the population in the region projected to grow by some 30 per cent to 53.5 million in the next decade, and increasing urbanization, the society faces new healthcare challenges. There are increased health risks associated with the environment and factors like smoking, unbalanced diets, sedentary living, and the potential for disease outbreaks. All this put a burden on resources both human and financial. This can be addressed only through earlier care by leveraging technological advances.

To provide clear solutions-based insights, the GE Healthcare Middle East Summit discussed pertinent topics including how advanced technologies will improve hospital efficiency and productivity, the role of partnerships in driving change, innovations in healthcare and regional healthcare trends with a focus on breast cancer.

The summit also discussed the relevance of healthymagination to the region, especially the GCC countries, where lifestyle diseases are on the rise with obesity, diabetes and stress being pressing challenges faced by the population.

The need for knowledge-sharing and competency building was highlighted at the Summit with Dr Tariq S Al Khuwaitir, Chairman – Department of Medicine and Medical Director, King Saud Medical Complex, Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, elaborating on the success in building leaders in the Saudi in partnership with GE Healthcare.

In addition to hosting a Saudi delegation at Crotonville LIG, GE Healthcare is organizing course sessions in Riyadh, which will reach at least 300 leading healthcare professionals this year. This Leadership, Innovation and Growth model is now being replicated in Saudi Arabia through hands-on learning sessions, and follow-up practices at the workplace where participants spend three weeks applying the new skills.

Dr Al Khuwaitir highlighted the role of GEs performance solutions in achieving increased hospital efficiency and productivity by achieving as much as 90 per cent operation room utilization, 44 per cent increase in efficiency and 41 per cent decrease in cancellations.

At the Summit, Dr Finn Göldner, Director Health System Financing of Abu Dhabi Health Authority, discussed the state of healthcare in Abu Dhabi emphasizing on the emirates health system reform. Haider Khan, Head Business Development of Etisalat Health & Hospitality; and Imad Ghandour, Executive Director Private Equity and Head of Strategy & Research, Gulf Capital, discussed how partnerships drive change in the region.

Highlighting the emphasis on public private partnerships, GE had recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Etisalat to introduce the latest healthcare solutions in the UAE. Etisalat will leverage GE Healthcares innovative solutions and expertise in capturing patient information. This will result in the development and offering of medical data management and remote clinical support services via Etisalats state-of-the-art telecom infrastructure.

Imad Ghandour stressed on Gulf Capitals vision of creating the largest chain of radiology centers in the Middle East and North Africa region, and reiterated its partnership with GE Healthcare in bringing in advanced diagnostic technologies to the region. Radiology centers offering the latest advances will be opened in all major areas in Egypt and Saudi Arabia by the end of 2011, in addition to upgrading the equipment and services in five centers this year.

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