Although 3D medical printing has been around for some time now, it received great prominence at this year’s Arab Health Conference held in Dubai. Representatives from over 4000 healthcare companies from 70 countries attended the annual meet which commenced on Jan 30, 2016, and ended on February 2, 2017.
In stark contrast to last year’s conference when 3D printing for medical purposes hardly received attention, this year it was a different story altogether. 3D printing was dedicated a special zone for practical workshops providing hands-on training on the 3D technology to healthcare practitioners.
The participants explored possibilities of pharmaceutical, clinical, and laboratory applications of 3D printing for the treatment of various illnesses in the areas of cardiology, neurology, gastroenterology, and surgery.
The annual Arab Health Conference is becoming increasingly essential for healthcare companies and medical professionals – even patients, for that matter, who have faith in the latest medical technologies, which is developing at a rapid pace, to provide them succor from their ailments.
Princess Haya was the keynote speaker at the conference as, indeed, she had been at the same meet last year as well. She is the wife of the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and was accompanied by the Health Ministers of UAE and Nigeria, Abdul Rahman Mohamed Al Oweis and Professor Isaac Adewole, respectively.
It’s never a bad idea to open a speech addressing as serious a topic as 3D medical printing with a bit of humor, and that’s exactly what she did in her opening speech at the conference saying she was “relieved to see that I cannot be easily substituted by a robot.” She then got into some serious talks about the growing importance of innovation in technology with particular emphasis on its medical applications.
“I am very proud to be able to make a statement that reflects the humility of our healthcare teams,” Princess Haya said in her speech. “The combination of ambition and humility is the kind of balance that healthcare needs, and here in the UAE, we have that balance. Our leadership has embraced technology to ensure quality, and it has never forgotten its people. And that is our message to all of you who visit us today. Our nascent system is exemplary in its approach to technology.”
She spoke about the robotic pharmacy recently launched at the Al Fujairah Hospital in the UAE. A robot at the pharmacy has the capability of performing medical tasks such as preparing prescriptions and arranging stocks and can be programmed for these functions at the mere touch of a button. It can store up to 35,000 medicines and hand out around 12 prescriptions short of a minute.
Princess Haya stressed the importance of ensuring “successful adoption” of new technologies by making available the appropriate tools and knowledge for “the physician, the patient, and the system” alike, not forgetting to mention the importance of proper training to ensure proficiency among medical practitioners.
“I have already alluded to the difficulty faced in embracing new technology in healthcare. To ensure a successful adoption, we need to equip the physician, the patient, and the system with the right tools and knowledge. We also need to improve medical training to ensure future generations of doctors are proficient in the use of technology, social media, and digital platforms,” she said.
After her keynote speech, Princess Haya made it a point to visit several of the 4500 exhibits put up by manufacturers, vendors, and service providers including a stop at the “Siemens Healthlineers” booth which is also the platinum sponsor and recent partner of Strata and Etihad. The partnership will work towards expanding 3D printing technology in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
President-Regions Central Europe, Middle East & Africa, Siemens Healthineers, Dr. Bernd Ohnesorge said, “As a partner of the Leaders in Healthcare conference, we continue to support the UAE’s drive towards adopting innovative technology and comprehensive solutions for healthcare applications. The rapid adoption of new healthcare technologies and partnership models supports healthcare providers in improving patient outcomes, by streamlining processes and pushing the boundaries of patient care. The possibilities are endless for innovation in healthcare, and this conference provides the ideal platform for leaders in the industry to converge and discuss how we can better utilize technologies for the benefit of patients across the region.”
Other speakers at the conference included the Group CEO of Informa, Arab Health organizer, Lord Stephen Carter and Paul Miullen, GE Healthcare General Manager, Mohammad Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Societies, to name a couple of them.