Featuring new and leading obstetrics and gynaecology devices, equipment and solutions, the Obs-Gyne Exhibition and Congress 2018, saw more than 50 speakers from the Middle East, UK and US bring in international perspectives and insight into medical and health issues prevalent worldwide, as well as tackle current issues and challenges within women’s health specific to the MENA region. Co-located with MEDLAB for the first time this year, the event was held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, UAE, from 5 - 8 February 2018.
Keeping abreast of the advances in medicine
A specialist in minimally invasive procedures for advanced laparoscopic and hysterectomy surgery, Dr Sadoon Sadoon, Medical Director, Consultant, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Danat Al Emarat Hospital, Abu Dhabi, believes that the opportunities for interaction between regional and international experts with participants at the 2018 edition of the Obs-Gyne Exhibition & Congress holds the key to the ongoing success of this event.
“Obs-Gyne is undoubtedly the region’s leading expo and congress for obstetricians and gynaecologists,” says Dr Sadoon, who also served as a member of the Scientific Committee of the 2018 Obs- Gyne Congress. “This year we had a line-up of eminent experts from the region and beyond who addressed current issues and challenges within the industry, as well as presenting best practice case studies that practitioners could implement into their day-to-day work. My colleagues and I worked together to produce a comprehensive scientific programme involving all areas in the field of general obstetrics and gynaecology, oncology, maternal and foetal medicine and infertility which were the focus areas of the conference this year. Interactive sessions with participants was one of the most positive outcomes of the Conference as it enabled practitioners to keep abreast of the latest advances in medicine, particularly for women’s health in the Middle East.”
Dr Sadoon, who was also a speaker at the event, says the event offered an opportunity to address “how we at Danat Al Emarat manage or develop the services for advanced laparoscopic surgery and how we perform complex procedures including the advanced hysterectomy laparoscopically. Apart from gaining an insight into research from within the UAE, the event also shed light on advances made by our colleagues in the MENA region and beyond.”
Rising infertility rates
Infertility was one of the key topics at the Obs-Gyne Exhibition and Congress, as it is a prominent health issue women across the globe face today. According to Dr Elsamawal Elhakim, IVF & Reproductive Medicine Consultant, HealthPlus Fertility Centres, UAE, “Obs-Gyne brings in internationally renowned speakers and clinicians which makes it a fantastic event for practitioners to discuss complex cases, exchange ideas on new approaches and learn about recent advances in this field.”
It is a great opportunity to meet with experts in the field and share knowledge, he adds as infertility is a worldwide issue. “Women are delaying child bearing because of a host of reasons,” he explains. “Compounding the problem is that obesity – considered an epidemic worldwide – is affecting fertility rates of both men and women. Junk food, irrational use of drinks and tobacco, lifestyle factors – all affect sperm and egg quality.”
One of the most interesting topic for IVF clinicians is the challenge of implantation failure, he adds. “Why does pregnancy sometimes not occur despite transferring a good quality embryo inside the uterus? This raises an important question for us all. As a speaker at the event, I spoke about the role of blood thinning injections in reducing implantation failure and preventing miscarriage. In some patients, natural killer cells in the body or clotting factors could prevent the flow of blood to the womb. This was based on data I have collected from all over the world including meta-analysis, randomised, controlled studies, etc that look into the role of blood thinning injections in implantation.”
The infertility plenary track at the Obs-Gyne Congress also reviewed recent research evidence and discussed different treatment options, including IVF, and the pros and cons of every treatment plan.
Obs-Gyne 2018 featured a host of device and equipment manufacturers including imaging companies who showcased the latest technologies in ultrasound and mammography. Other product areas at the event ranged from endoscopic, laparoscopic and hysteroscopy equipment to more conventional surgical equipment, cervical cancer screening products to gynae chairs and stretchers.
According to Machel Norman, Managing Director, m.e.r limited, UK, “We have been exhibiting at Obs-Gyne for five years now. We are very happy with the outcome and that is why we continue to exhibit at this event as we see year on year growth.”
m.e.r limited is a resource business, specialising in niche, superior quality devices, with unique attributes for the gynaecological and obstetrics disciplines, adds Norman. One of the popular devices on exhibit was the babyLance safety heelsticks that are reputed for their smooth and accurate incisions, ease of use and safety.
The Medica Group, the leading distributor of beauty solutions, aesthetic products and medical equipments, attracted the attention of visitors at the event as it offered a fantastic choice for women to improve symptoms of laxity or loss of sensation, urge incontinence, stress incontinence and overactive bladder. Corrine Dowling, Training Supervisor, Medical Equipment Department, MEDICA Group, UAE, explained that Viveve Geneveve is a breakthrough one-time 25-minute procedure using radio frequency for vaginal tightening and stress incontinence symptom relief. “The treatment uses clinically proven cryogen-cooled monopolar radiofrequency (CMRF) to uniformly deliver gentle volumetric heating while cooling delicate surface tissue,” she said. “This unique technology stimulates the body’s natural collagen formation process.”
Founded by a midwife and said to induce the positive effects of upright positioning and moving during birth, the aptly titled ‘Moving Mattress’ displayed at the Obs-Gyne event naturally garnered plenty of attention. According to Anna Peters, Midwife & Co-Founder, Vibwife GmbH, “Continuous active mobilisation and positioning of the woman giving birth is essential for the natural progression of labour. What we have developed is an automated system that moves the woman’s pelvis during childbirth so that she does not have to rely on the time and strength reserves of her midwife. The aim is to reduce the duration of labour through optimal movements, thereby avoiding unplanned cesareans.”
Quoting scientific studies undertaken recently, Anna explained that upright positioning and moving techniques have led to 29 percent fewer unplanned Caesareans and 19 percent fewer requested epidurals. It has also reduced duration of labour, shortening the process by 1 hour 22 minutes.
A superior first-line screening test for all women was showcased by Scientific Clinical Laboratories with Panorama, a non-invasive prenatal screening test (NIPT) that analyses cell-free DNA in a pregnant woman’s blood to estimate the risk of foetal chromosomal abnormalities. Performed through a simple blood draw from the arm, Panorama works by distinguishing between foetal and maternal cell-free DNA thanks to SNP-based sequencing and Natera’s proprietary Natus™ (Next-Generation Aneuploidy Test Using SNPs) algorithm.
Panorama is a highly accurate and comprehensive screening that screens for common genetic conditions caused by extra or missing chromosomes in the baby’s DNA including Down Syndrome. Compared to first trimester screening, it has higher sensitivity and lower false positive rate for the conditions screened.
India’s leading diagnostics chain, SRL Diagnostics, continued its ongoing support for the Obs-Gyne event by showcasing its superior quality diagnostic services to its customers that works through a very efficient network of labs and collection points. According to Nikita Panchal, Senior Executive -Sales & Insurance at SRL, “Our mission is to become the first-choice diagnostics provider for customers in all the markets that we operate in, and participation at Obs-Gyne is important to showcase our accurate and precise diagnostic, prognostic and predictive testing services to a large audience. We use this platform to cultivate new business contacts and we will certainly be back again next year.”
The building blocks of life
Another area of focus at the Obs-Gyne exhibition were the cord blood bank and stem cell technology based organisations that are involved in the collection and storage of potentially life-saving stem cells that secure immense health benefits and are often seen as the future of human medicine. Exhibiting their latest stem cell service at the event, Darryn Keast, Managing Director at Med Cells International FZ LLC, explained that Cells Plus powered by TotiCyte was a ground-breaking new cord blood separation technology that had the potential to deliver 2 to 5 times more stem cells at the point of treatment than any other method.
“It has been developed and patented by Cells4Life and is the highest performing cord blood processing system in the world,” he said. “The key to TotiCyte’s incredible cell recovery is that it causes the red blood cells to sediment, leaving the stem cells and other cell types suspended in plasma. This enables almost all of the red cells to be removed without losing any stem cells. As only the number of viable cells at the point of therapy actually matter, CellsPlus offers the best chance of successful treatment for regenerative therapies than ever before.”
Also exhibiting at the event was Future Health Biobank, the only stem cell bank to successfully release a sample for treatment in the Middle East. Ahmad Al Ahmad, Territory Manager GCC for Futurecells FZ-LLC, Dubai, explained: “This was in 2012 when a cord blood sample processed and stored by us was released and transplanted into a sick teenager in Jordan who had Fanconi’s Anemia, a condition that affects the bone marrow’s ability to make healthy blood cells. In the absence of a suitable bone marrow sample, fresh hopes arrived with the birth of his baby sister whose cord blood sample proved to be a perfect match for her sick brother.”
Storing stem cells could prove to be a lifeline not only for the child but also for his/her sibling and parents, he says. “Here at Obs-Gyne, we have had several guests approach us to know more about the system and the conditions it treats. Backed by scientific research and clinical trials, this field of study is constantly evolving, thereby increasing the potential for the use of stem cells for an ever-expanding range of health issues.”
American Hospital Dubai showcased its range of care offered to women by the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department that included care during pregnancy, infertility, menopause, as well as a multitude of other women’s health related afflictions.
One of the largest stands at Obs-Gyne belonged to Danat Al Emarat Hospital, part of United Eastern Medical Services Group, and the Gold Sponsor of the event. “We are a world-class specialty women and children’s hospital, and Obs-Gyne was a very good platform for us to inform and update people about our services and what we do,” said Dr Sadoon. “The UEMedical also manages HealthPlus, a network of highly specialised outpatient centres in Abu Dhabi including HealthPlus Fertility Centers. The IVF Laboratory of HealthPlus Fertility is the first of its kind in the UAE to receive international accreditation by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), a testament to its high quality and its compliance with internationally recognised standards and procedures. So, Obs-Gyne was the apt venue for us to meet with visitors, interact with them and get some good ideas that we can bring back to our Group because we believe that quality is a responsibility, and that a flow of ideas is critical to keep raising the bar of excellence.”