UAE: Healthcare is going to drive next decade of growth, say experts

The federal budget for 2022 allocates 8.09 per cent to this sector



Image: WAM
Image: WAM

By WAM

Published: Tue 14 Jun 2022, 7:36 PM

Last updated: Tue 14 Jun 2022, 7:38 PM

Experts participating in the Advance Health forum believe that healthcare is going to drive the next decade of growth in the UAE.

The forum was organised by Dubai Science Park (DSP), a member of TECOM Group, in partnership with Synapse Medical Services, a healthcare administration company, and the participation of some key industry stakeholders, who gathered to explore the outlook of biotech innovation and research in the UAE.

The topic took its cue from the UAE’s prioritisation of expanding the healthcare sector as part of the Centennial 2071 project launched by the Cabinet, which aims to establish the UAE as the best country in the world by 2071.

Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi, Managing Director of Dubai Science Park, said, “The purpose of Advance Health is to bring our industry together to address challenging topics – interesting topics – and finding new solutions. Dubai Science Park business partners are expanding the dialogue and possibilities of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, treatments and more. Creating a space where this community can meet, engage, exchange experiences and propose new ideas is essential in laying the foundations for an impactful healthcare ecosystem that enhances the lives of UAE residents, the region and the world. Increasing biotech R&D is essential to the future of our sector and this session provides a platform to launch this conversation to a wider audience who can make actionable contributions.”

Dr. Aaron Han, Chief Medical Officer at Alliance Care Technologies and Adjunct Professor at Mohamed bin Rashid University, said that healthcare is going to drive the next decade of growth. Citing the pandemic as a catalysing factor, he elaborated the increase in funding available to research and focus on education were positioning healthcare as a key sector poised for impact.

The crux for cost-effective research is the availability of data, said Dr. Han, citing the phase, ‘Data is the new oil’. “The development of a comprehensive genetic database will enable businesses to create medication and treatments that can provide the best possible outcome to larger populations, while increasing affordability in the long run,” he said.

“Advance Health is a unique opportunity – even as we were sitting with the other speakers, we were talking about potential collaborations. It’s in this type of environment where we can explore possibilities; where we start getting out of our usual office space and what constitutes our formal titles, that’s when some of the value-add takes place,” he added.

Dr. Hemad Yasaei, Molecular Genetics and Genomics Consultant and Researcher at Dubai Genetics Centre, Pathology and Genetics Department, Dubai Health Authority, shared how genomics – the study of a person’s genes – would contribute to the new structure. “Genomics is one of the multilayers that is going to transform medicine and make it more personalised. Understanding each gene and its function can unlock how diseases come about, how they progress and how they can be treated across all stages of life,” he explained.

The insightful conversation investigated several factors that define the future of biotechnology innovation, from infrastructural needs to skilled talent and funding. A recurring theme underlying each of the speaker’s predictions was the emergence and importance of personalised medicine and diagnostics as healthcare ecosystems shift to patient-centric models.

The speakers recognised the growing pool of talent contributing to research and development, spurred by government-led initiatives such as the Golden Visa to attract skilled professionals and students.

Dubai Science Park hosts the Advance Health sessions with the aim of promoting knowledge exchange, encouraging networking opportunities and improving patient outcomes in the UAE. The federal budget for 2022 allocated 8.09 per cent (AED4.766 billion) to healthcare and community protection, boosting investment and opportunities within the sector.

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