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Articles from 2021 In August


Is the COVID-19 effect on children's mental health deepening?

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According to the Unicef data hub, children are not the face of this pandemic. But they risk being among its biggest victims. During the onset of COVID-19, many schools shifted to remote learning as cases rose among young patients. After a prolonged period of online learning, schools are reopening in the UAE, however, going back to school is causing anxiety in students. For paediatricians, the dawn of a new school season in midst of the pandemic means lending more support to parents and caretakers. There is a newfound resilience but also a continuous struggle in maintaining it due to several contributing factors. In an interview, Dr. Bariah Dardari, Head of Department and Consultant Pediatrician, and Dr. Sanjay Perkar, Specialist Pediatrician from Fakeeh University Hospital, share their insights and discuss solutions to promote better mental and physical health.

What were the psychological implications of COVID-19 on children?

Dr. Bariah: The scale of COVID-19’s impact has been staggering affecting both physical and mental wellbeing. The healthcare industry has recognised that there is a parallel between the two as we face a psychological epidemic amid the pandemic. A study published recently in the UAE indicated that up to 67 per cent of children between the age of seven to 16 were suffering from mental health implications caused by COVID-19. Anxiety, depression, fear, and phobias related to returning back to school, were the reoccurring issues faced by children and many female adolescent patients. International studies show the same in Europe, Spain, and Italy during the lockdown.

Dr. Sanjay: In many ways, there has been a profound effect on children. Some of the most common causes for psychological disorders, which have been identified during COVID-19 are a result of exposure to media or challenging family life. This surge in anxiety, stress, and overall implications of the pandemic have heightened awareness surrounding mental health and understanding how various age groups react. Younger children may not consciously understand the severity of their surroundings, in comparison to pre-adolescent and adolescents who are more sensitive to social media, news, or challenges at home.

As many students return to school, how are safety measures working in tandem with supporting guardians in reassuring children about the ‘new normal'?

Dr. Sanjay: The pandemic has been a learning curve. We are already in the second year of living through a life-altering contagion and as time progresses, research is helping us sift through findings to identify models which work. Schools have integrated hybrid learning, and the acceleration of digital solutions has paved the way for funding of diversified curriculum formats, enabling the flow of education. With a new approach to learning, safety regulations were heightened to ensure transmission was kept at bay through social distancing, wearing of masks, installation of sanitiser stations, frequent disinfection of the campus and temperature checks across transportation as well. In addition, the vaccine rollout has built the confidence of parents and guardians in sending their children back to school.


What has been the physical impact on young patients experiencing mental health issues?

Dr.Bariah: One of the prevalent issues of staying at home and the pandemic has been an unhealthy diet. A coping mechanism for many parents and children, the ‘feel good’ aftereffect of foods with low nutritional value is a growing concern. Coupled with low physical activity and the connection between gut health and the brain, children in many circumstances have become reliant on a poor diet which creates a momentary satisfaction. Parents give in to the demands of snacks as it helps create a buffer against underlying issues. For adolescents, a poor diet not only negatively impacts their mood but can cause irritable bowel syndrome and abdominal pain. It’s a vicious cycle of being physically unhealthy, which affects your mental health and vice versa.

Circling back to social media’s role, why are there many female patients specifically?

Dr. Bariah: A common denominator in all our patients was extended exposure to screen time, with a prominent risk factor being social media. There is a prevalence among female patients who use social media and experience low self-esteem and self-image. In general, online regulation is extremely vital as users can be exposed to cyberbullying and female users can be vulnerable to predators. A family history of anxiety or depression are compounded factors as well, and other contributing issues such as lack of support in the family or parents undergoing stress. Globally we are undergoing economic uncertainty and uncertainty on a whole when we address the future of the pandemic, which can be overwhelming for young patients.

How are young patients recovering from the effects of the pandemic?

Dr. Sanjay: In comparison to influenza and SARS, the rate of recovery for younger patients is higher, and the symptoms less severe. However, prolonged symptoms, diagnosed as Long Covid, can cause fatigue, loss of interest, and malaise. At Fakeeh University Hospital, we have always adopted a multi-disciplinary approach, which has supported successful recovery for patients.

Dr. Bariah: We witnessed a sub-population of young high-risk patients with type two diabetes and obesity, although we haven’t had cases of severe disease. Nevertheless, practising diligence is of the utmost importance as new variants target the younger population. We are still in the early stages of fully comprehending the fourth wave and its outcomes on young patients.

Has there been a rise in cases of young children and adolescents seeking mental health support or therapy since the pandemic?

Dr. Bariah: Children who stayed home lacked a support system that tends to their development. A healthy support system consists of family, teachers, and peers, especially for teenagers who are at the cusp of internalising key social and behavioural patterns. The consequence of social isolation from activities, especially for the younger population, was development milestones delayed in contrast to mental health impact. Nurseries were closed during the lockdown, and when they could reopen, many parents were still reluctant to send their young children in fear of exposure. This gave rise to many two- and five-year-olds experiencing challenges in learning key motor skills, which are usually acquired through preschool activities.

For older children, there was more of an impact on mental health before hybrid learning was introduced. The several reasons include busy working parents who were unable to dedicate time to their children, online learning with no access to school facilities, lack of mental health support services and providers. The high expense of these services needs to be addressed. The economic impact of COVID has been devastating, many parents have lost their jobs and healthcare coverage and, therefore, are unable to provide these services for their children. Our role as primary care pediatric physicians is crucial now because we can bridge that gap and provide support to the parents and their children.

As we globally recover and adapt to the new normal, what will be the impact on children, and what methods will ease the transition period for them?

Dr. Sanjay: Moving around benefits physical and mental health. Therefore, activity from an early age should be encouraged as it also enhances the development of motor skills. Our advice to parents is to teach mindful thinking to their children, this includes helping them observe and address their thoughts in a conducive way. As a parent, if you notice any concerns, consult your physician for the appropriate guidance to ensure your children are supported from an early stage. During regular checkups, we always speak to parents and children to ensure that they have not been suffering silently, in many instances by asking leading questions such as ‘how the kids are doing in school and at home?’ we receive observations from their parents and can help navigate the course of action.

Dr. Bariah: Parents play a tremendous role in supporting their children, therefore, self-care is crucial. Many parents neglect themselves, but do not realise that for them to better care for their children, they should take care of themselves first. As physicians, we foster relationships with families to ensure they are always supported.

The 10 commandments of wearing a face mask

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When combined with other preventative measures, face masks serve as an effective shield against the contraction of infection.  Fabric masks are recommended for the general population by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Individuals who have not completed both doses of their vaccine are recommended to wear face masks in both indoor and outdoor public areas, where is there a high risk of contracting COVID-19. N95 masks are usually worn by health care workers according to the CDC. Medical masks are recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for health care professionals, and for those who may have COVID-19 or are caring for patients who tested positive.

To ensure complete effectiveness, cloth and medical masks should be properly fitted to your face’s contours to minimise air flowing out of the edges. There should be no gaps between the mask and the nose, mouth, or chin. When you breathe out, you should feel warm air coming through the front of the mask. You shouldn't be able to feel air flowing out of the mask's edges. Masks with a flexible nose strip assist keep air from escaping through the top of the mask.

The way you use, store, and maintain your mask has an impact on how well it protects you. To put on and remove your mask, follow these steps:

  1. Before and after putting on your mask, wash or disinfect your hands.
  2. Cover your mouth, nose, and chin with your mask.
  3. Use ear loops or tie it behind your head. Make sure it's not too tight.
  4. If you're wearing a mask, don't touch it.
  5. If you touch your mask by mistake, wash or disinfect your hands.
  6. If your mask gets wet or soiled, replace it with a new one. Place the used mask in a sealable bag until it can be disposed of or washed.
  7. Untie the mask or raise the ear loops to remove it without contacting the front of the mask or your face.
  8. After removing your mask, wash your hands promptly.
  9. Wash cloth masks in the washing machine or by hand on a regular basis. (They may be washed in the same machine as normal laundry.)
  10. Ensure you are only eating or drinking in a dedicated area for dining. Perform hand hygiene thoroughly before removing your mask to eat, followed by repeating hand hygiene after finishing. After putting on your mask finish with performing hand hygiene again.

For a step-by-step process on how to remove your mask safely to eat or drink, watch the video below:

Breast cancer survival increases when time between diagnosis and concluding treatments is limited

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Research from Cleveland Clinic in the U.S. and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in the UAE has found a decrease in patient survival rates when treatment options – surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation – are completed more than 38 weeks from the time of diagnosis. 

The observational study, which included more than 28,000 breast cancer patients registered in the American National Cancer Database, found the treatment duration of less than 38 weeks was associated with a higher five-year survival – 89.9 per cent compared to the 83.3 per cent in the greater than 38 weeks treatment duration. This builds on previous research that noted poorer outcomes when there was a delay in time to treatment initiation, although time to treatment completion was not assessed in these studies.

Study findings indicated that patient survival did not differ based on receptor status. Patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy were more likely to take longer than 38 weeks for completion of all acute treatment than patients receiving surgery first, suggesting that such a strategy may reduce the patient outcome.

The preoperative evaluation of breast cancer patients has become increasingly complex, and delays have the potential to occur at multiple time points. Times between abnormal mammogram and biopsy, MRI assessment, genetic testing, fertility consults, multidisciplinary care with plastic surgery consultations, combined surgical scheduling, preadmission testing, cardiac clearance, and metastatic survey are all potential sources of delay.

Understanding patient data

The study’s authors point out that further study is needed to identify the causes for the delay before changes can be made to improve the coordination and efficiency of breast cancer care.

According to Debra Pratt M.D., director of the Breast Center at Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital, and the lead author of the study: “One of the data points missing in our study was the last day of chemotherapy for these patients, so we could not determine where the majority of delays occurred. One of my hopes is to look at our patients’ data to know where the challenges lie and how we can fix them.”

Ultimately, troubleshooting treatment delays will improve the efficiency of multimodality breast cancer treatment and boost optimal breast cancer patient outcomes on tumour receptor phenotype, undergoing all three treatment modalities.

All you need to know about getting vaccinated

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Since the onset of COVID-19, a cure has been eagerly anticipated by the world. Measures to reduce the possibility of transmission have been widely adopted, however, vaccines are rapidly being embraced as one of the most effective ways to strengthen the immunity of individuals. Their rapid development, testing, approval, and implementation are hallmarks of a medical breakthrough.

The decision for individuals to get vaccinated remains optional in most parts of the world. However, there is a growing acceptance of getting immunised, especially for those at high risk of contracting the infection, such as the elderly, young, or those who suffer from medical conditions. Various reasons are driving individuals towards getting the vaccine, acquiring herd immunity to eliminate the severity of the virus and transmission is one of them.

Although the vaccine does not prevent individuals from contracting the virus, it reduces the severity of symptoms.

To learn more, watch the video below:

 

The role of reagents in the battle against COVID-19

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During the current SARS-CoV-2 epidemic, public health professionals stressed the need of testing, identifying sick patients, and tracing their connections as an effective method for limiting the virus's transmission. In clinical, research, and public health laboratories, several diagnostic techniques for identifying the coronavirus have been described.

Indirect methods assess antibodies against the virus in a host that has been exposed, whereas direct tests identify the infection directly by detecting viral RNA. During a pandemic, a diagnostic test technique should have adequate sensitivity and accuracy to make appropriate clinical verdicts quickly.

The most frequently in use approach for direct SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis is nucleic acid amplification employing the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. To identify the virus, molecular detection methods analyse the nucleic acids contained in the sample. Real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction is the commonly used laboratory detection method for the clinical diagnosis of COVID-19.

SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, for example, have been diagnosed and monitored using the same approach. For the identification of SARS-CoV-2, a variety of commercially available primers, probes, and reagents are utilised in RT-PCR. A reagent is a substance or compound that can aid in the completion of a reaction, and it is used in various types of tests, such as pregnancy, blood glucose, and most COVID-19 test kits fall into this category and any chemical reaction requires the use of them.

How do reagents work?

Sample collection, primers and probes, fluorescence curve analysis, use of appropriate controls, and temperature control reliability are all factors that influence the RT-PCR test outcome. The positive control is used to examine the chemical integrity of the reagents, primers, and probes, while the negative control is used to check for sample cross-contamination.

Chemical reactions are triggered by reagents. Organic substances that trigger naturally occurring chains of reactions in the body, as well as inorganic substances that can be used in artificially triggered reactions, are included in this category. Reagents are commonly used to test for the presence of certain substances because their binding to the substance or other related substances causes certain reactions to occur. Various reagents are used to extract the virus or viral materials, others to amplify it, and still others to test for its presence.

A technique's outcome is influenced by sample collection process, reagents employed, cross-contamination risk, and sample/reagent storage requirements, in addition to the equipment and method itself. To assist in making an appropriate choice and timely public health actions, these criteria must be addressed when selecting an accurate and speedy diagnostic technique.

In addition to these controls, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises using a human specimen control to verify effective lysis and integrity of extraction reagents, as well as to reduce false negative findings by collecting adequate human cellular material.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been increasing worry regarding the inaccessibility of RNA-based diagnostic procedures, as well as a global reagent scarcity. However, like other types of reagents, those used to test COVID-19 are limited and subject to production and trade issues. This has become an issue in a pandemic setting, as previously laboratories and producers operated at a much lower capacity compared to the current need, and a reagent shortage has never been experienced on such a large scale.

When age isn’t a liability

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Society, in general, doesn’t like to face up to painful realities. But this doesn’t mean they don’t exist. And one such example is age discrimination against older workers. It’s real. And it’s all over. Rampant in fact.

I have no less than 50 friends and acquaintances, all in their 50’s and early 60’s, with impressive experiences and CVs, yet who cannot find steady work. Perhaps a part of the issue is, some may have unrealistic salary expectations. But the vast majority? It’s age discrimination.

I recall poignantly the first time I sniffed this issue regarding myself. I was approaching 50 years old and in a job interview. For the first time, I was asked a series of questions I had never been asked in 25 years of interviews: “How is your health?” “When are you thinking of retiring?” “Do you think you have the energy for such a role?” This was a clear signal – age – was becoming a concern for prospective employers.

Whether we like it or not, age does become a consideration for employers. We can cry and scream about it, we can litigate in the courts against it, or we can face the reality: Ageing does impact us all, and some more than others. Some people are figuratively, “50 going on 75” and have aged biologically well past their chronological age. They are out of shape. Wheezing going up one flight of stairs. Breaking into spontaneous sweats. Taking prescription drug after prescription drug. They aren’t in good shape, and asking questions about their fitness to take on roles that require high energy and stress tolerance are logical questions any employer is going to ask. Having the knowledge and skills to do a job is only part of the story. An individual also needs the strength and endurance to leverage those skills and experiences to succeed in the role!

The solution is to indeed fight age discrimination, but not in the courts. It is to fight it ourselves and to transform our own wellness. Anyone can truly turn back the clock. We can be “50 going on 75” and take ourselves out of the game, or we can be “50 going on 35” and put ourselves right in the thick of things. It is simply all about making a choice for personal wellness.

Let me give some real-life examples from my company, Fine Hygienic Holding, which is at the core a wellness company, with a strong orientation towards employee wellness. We have all kinds of wellness offerings for our people. We have on-site fitness centres open 24/7. We have fitness classes. Health promotions and competitions to have fun and improve. Employee mental health programmes and counselling. It’s a long list.

But beyond this, we believe we must lead from the top. Lead by example and role model for our organisation. And we have multiple examples of senior leaders in FHH putting age concerns in the trash bin. People who are choosing personal wellness and becoming literally “50 going on 35”.

It starts with our Chairman, Ghassan Nuqul. Seven days per week in the gym, an avid outdoor enthusiast, and accomplished equestrian, Ghassan looks and feels half his age of 57. He leads from the top. A man I have never seen work less than 10 hours per day, I have never seen take a sick day, who is passionate and energetic whether it is at 7:00 am or 10:00 pm. It’s not about luck. It’s living a life of discipline, making a choice to take care of his health. He is frankly 57 going on 35. Or perhaps even better!

But it doesn’t stop with our chairman. Our Chief of Supply Chain, Jan Robben, is another outstanding role model. Jan leads manufacturing sites across four countries and over 2,000 people. He needs energy and stamina, and he knows it. So, at 64 years old, he has transformed himself into a 40-year-old. Or younger. Embarking on a daily fitness session and healthy diet, Jan has catapulted himself into being most probably the healthiest member of his entire 2,000-person team! He has boundless energy, and his health has never been better. We don’t worry about Jan turning 65 years old. We simply hope he will sign on for more years well beyond 65!

And finally, I should briefly mention myself. I am also 57, but I am going on 40. I exercise faithfully six days per week. I have run over 30 full marathons and often compete in powerlifting competitions. I even won in 2017 the Philippines National Championship in Bench Press, beating out entire teams of collegiate 20-year-olds on the way to the title. I haven’t taken a full sick day in years and working a 10-hour day is a “light” day. It’s all about choice.

A decade ago, when I was CEO of Coca-Cola Nigeria, we had an ongoing problem of poor maintenance of the production lines, leading to frequent shutdowns. We had to change several of our maintenance engineers. After all, if you can’t consistently execute good preventative maintenance programmes, then you probably shouldn’t expect to last as a maintenance engineer.

All of us in this world are, in a sense, maintenance engineers. We are responsible for one machine, the body we are all given. It’s our job to take care of this machine, to ensure it is maintained and running smoothly. That it has minimal shutdowns and leads a long and productive life. That’s our job as maintenance engineers.

If we can’t do that, then we shouldn’t expect to stay in the game against others who do a better job. And that’s a simple reality. Do you want to stay gainfully employed past 50? Get your personal wellness in order. Turn back the clock. You can do it!

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James Michael Lafferty is Chief Executive Officer of Fine Hygienic Holding. Lafferty is also an Olympic Track and Field Coach, an accomplished journalist, a college professor, and husband, father of five and grandfather of three.

Back to basics: practicing stringent hand hygiene

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Practising appropriate hand hygiene has always been paramount in eliminating the risk of transmission of infections. In the wake of the pandemic, the importance of mandating effective hand hygiene has accelerated and has become one of the most key elements of infection control.

Healthcare-associated infections, the complexity of treatment, increasing severity of illness are all contributing factors in healthcare professionals encouraging basic measures such as hand hygiene.

Scientific evidence supports that hand hygiene acts as an effective preventative measure which if implemented appropriately can significantly reduce the risk of cross-transmission of infection in healthcare facilities.

Globally, the pandemic has presented challenges across healthcare with a demand for solutions from patients and regulatory bodies. Implementing preventative measures has been successful, and the medical community has been driving innovation through advances in the study of infectious disease pathogenesis, as well as the global expansion of multi-drug resistance pathogens in healthcare settings.

These factors, combined with the scarcity of novel antimicrobials, have required a re-examination of the significance of basic infection prevention strategies in modern health care. There is now irrefutable evidence that practising stringent hand cleanliness minimises the likelihood of infection transmission.

With “Clean Care is Safer Care” at the forefront of the World Health Organization's worldwide focus on patient safety programs, nations across the world can adopt the regulations necessary to implement fundamental infection control practices in healthcare settings.

Learn more on how you can properly sanistise your hands by watching this demonstration by Massachusetts General Hospital:

 

 

Alzheimer's disease: Where are we today?

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Alzheimer's disease is characterised as a progressive disease, with symptoms including mild memory loss that may progress to a loss of the ability to interact with the environment and maintain a conversation. Alzheimer's disease is a disorder characterised by areas of the brain that are responsible for cognition, memory, and language. According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent type of dementia. 

Omnia Health Insights sat down with Dr Amin Abdullah Al Shawabkeh, Specialist Neurologist, Medcare Hospital, Al Safa, Dubai, UAE, to discuss the latest Alzheimer’s stats, the correlation between early childhood brain development and Alzheimer's disease, testing techniques, and treatment methods

What is the general prevalence of Alzheimer’s in the adult population?

When it comes to the increased risk of the disease, studies conducted by the World Health Organization have estimated that from the year 2000 to 2050, the presence of Alzheimer’s in the elderly is set to rise from 4 per cent to 5 per cent. While the growth rate among the most seasoned adults (those aged 85 and older) will exceed 5 per cent in 11 of the Arab countries surveyed. 

What is the link between strengthening the brain in childhood/early adolescence and the onset of Alzheimer’s?

Further investigation found that countries such as Qatar, Kuwait, and the UAE, should anticipate a fivefold or greater increase in their older population, resulting in an increase in the number of people experiencing Alzheimer's disease. That being said, several studies have been conducted to identify the exact cause of the disease.

Researchers from Delphi Consensus found that several of the key contributing factors of the disease included depression, physical inactivity, diabetes, and smoking. The list of contributing factors also extended to midlife hypertension, midlife obesity, and hyperlipidemia. A study conducted by the American Heart Association found that those who engaged in regular physical activity and those who quit smoking and maintained a healthy, steady diet appeared to show fewer signs of developing Alzheimer’s at a later stage in life.

Are there any novel ways of testing whether someone is likely to get Alzheimer’s?

In terms of early diagnosis, researchers from the University of Gothenburg have devised a blood test, which measures the unique blood test’s p-tau181 levels. The researchers were able to observe that the test can detect anomalies several years before the onset of memory loss, suggesting that it has significant future applications. To date, the test has proven effective in diagnosing Alzheimer's disease at an early stage. Which, as a result, has helped clinical practitioners and researchers to better determine and follow the disease's progression.

What are the latest treatment methods?

Thanks to the advancement of modern technology and medication, American multinational biotechnology, Biogen, has been able to develop the very first pharmaceutical to be cleared by U.S. regulators and the first new medicine in nearly two decades, aducanumab.

The pharmaceutical, which works by targeting the beta-amyloid, has been found to reduce cognitive loss in persons living with Alzheimer's. According to a report by Reuters, approximately 1.5 million patients in the U.S. with early Alzheimer's disease are potential candidates for the drug, which was passed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June of this year.

Gargash Hospital celebrates second anniversary

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Gargash Hospital, the UAE’s first female Emirati-owned, multi-speciality hospital with a primary focus on women and childcare, marked its two years of successful business on August 19. On this occasion, the healthcare facility announced exciting plans for 2022. The eventful anniversary celebration witnessed the presence of members of the Royal Family from the UAE, Dr Husnia Gargash (Founder & Shareholder), Ghada Sawalmah (CEO) and other senior members of the Board and the management team.

“We are proud to have served the UAE community with high-quality health care during the past two years of our operations. Our directors, doctors and staff members are all very grateful for the trust that the community members have shown in us and for embracing us. We have grown in response to the needs of the community,” said Dr Gargash.

“We opened our doors officially in 2019 around this time and since then it has been a steep learning curve. The sudden arrival of the pandemic created different needs and we changed our patient-flow management accordingly. In the past one year, we have seen steady growth. We will look for further expansion and look forward to our continued growth in the region,” added Sawalmah.

Sawalmah said new technologies and research continues to reinforce the significance of healthcare, and the service excellence offered at Gargash serves as an essential component of delivering good health to our customers. As such, the hospital is investing aggressively in 2022, as part of its next phase of significant development. Under this plan, Gargash Hospital is upgrading its facility and expanding its range of services with the addition of new specialities and technologies. The focus is on providing expert healthcare advice and facilities that complement each other. In 2021, Gargash Hospital has added few specialities and invested in state-of-the-art technology to accommodate the demands of its growing patient base. This trend will be continued in 2022 in line with our strategic expansion plans.

Speaking about expansion plans, Sawalmah highlighted, “I envision us delving deeper into the subspecialties, along the line of departments that we already have. We want to outshine at all the subspecialties. Plans for developing centres of excellence in various specialities, especially Assisted Reproductive Technology and collaboration with niche providers are also in the pipeline.”

Medical excellence

Gargash Hospital, a reflection of its founder’s vision of providing end-to-end solutions for all gynaecological and reproductive problems, boasts a female staff of around 67 per cent, with 80 per cent of the hospital’s upper management comprising of women. It was launched just before the start of the pandemic, a time when most businesses were fearing closure. However, banking on its wide-ranging medical experience and excellence in the fields of IVF, Gynaecology, Obstetrics and General Health, the hospital has efficiently offered its patients the best of treatment and successfully survived and thrived in the unprecedented first year of business.

Applauding the success, Ole Per Maloy, Managing Director Middle East and Southern & Eastern Africa Siemens Healthineers commented, “We are delighted to join Gargash Hospital in celebrating their commitment to the future of healthcare in the UAE. As a technology partner, we aim to deliver sustainable and innovative solutions to our partners enabling them to deliver best-in-class care, especially during these challenging times. We look forward to continuing our support in collectively making a positive impact for many more years to come.”

Gargash Hospital is a 50-bedded multispecialty hospital in Umm Al Sheif, Dubai, that boasts of UAE’s first fully-fledged IVF unit, and other state-of-the-art technologies including, Siemens 3-Tesla (3T) MRI scanner, and GE Invenia ABUS 2.0.

AI ventilators - leveling up life support

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Ventilators and their accompanying equipment are costly and sophisticated devices that need the expertise of doctors and other medical professionals. The devices must be configured and monitored thoroughly to ensure that they are fulfilling a set of guidelines such as pressure, volume, and breath rate — that are specific to each patient. These measurements frequently fluctuate throughout treatment, necessitating further tuning.

One of the lifesaving and advanced breakthroughs of the medical industry, the ventilation process must be administered with caution. A minor error can result in significant injury to the patient's alveoli as well as the lung. Appropriate administration can be lifesaving, therefore requiring the expertise of a specialist to operate them and set the parameters and correct mode of the mechanical ventilator, based on the condition of the patient. COVID-19’s impact has introduced risks which may present challenges for the medical professional carrying out the procedure.

One of the most prevalent procedures in ICU patients is mechanical ventilation. Appropriate amounts of sedation and analgesia are critical, but inter-patient variability makes this challenging. The order in which the ventilator is removed is particularly crucial, as both early extubation and prolonged ventilation are linked to greater mortality rates. However, there is a huge disparity in practices, making precise prediction difficult.

According to research published by the University of Copenhagen, the integration of Artificial intelligence can reduce the strain on medical personnel and allow for the deployment of ventilators in facilities where there are staffing shortages. In the case of COVID-19, AI can support triage by forecasting which patients are most likely to require ventilator support or intense respiratory assistance in the next 24 hours, as well as which patients are most likely at a risk to not survive.

AI-led transformation

Artificial intelligence in healthcare is gaining prominence due to an increase in scientific research and financing. AI has demonstrated ophthalmologist-level detection of retinal disease and can provide patient specific options for sepsis treatment that might enhance patient outcomes.

Given the vast amounts of data collected on a regular basis, the intensive care unit (ICU) has a numerous potential applications. However, there are a few key factors to consider to ensure delivery of successful deployment. To make life-saving decisions, ICU doctors must frequently analyse vast amounts of complex, heterogeneous data. According to Artificial intelligence in the intensive care unit, a research published by BMC, AI if implemented correctly, has the potential to alleviate this load by transforming data into more useful knowledge. We may utilise AI to predict negative outcomes before they occur, improve the management of highly complicated circumstances, and allow doctors to spend less time analysing data and more time relying on their experience and human touch when providing treatment.

Intelligent ventilation systems, according to some medical professionals, can provide safe and efficient ventilation support with minimum human oversight. Because of its simple settings, the machine may be handled by healthcare staff with very basic understanding.

The consensus among medical experts on AI ventilation systems is of its capability in delivering efficient, safe support with minimal supervision from healthcare professionals. Due to its seamless settings, the ventilator can be used by hospital staff in regions with a lack specialists for supervising complex devices. To minimise inter-clinician variability, an AI tool may also provide more individualised sedation and analgesia.

The integration of intelligent ventilators will improve conditions for health workers, decreasing the workload and making use of efficiently using professionals to cater to patients. For some regions, it will help address healthcare infrastructure gaps and allow patients to receive quality healthcare. In addition, the use of AI ventilation decreases the risk of contamination between hospital staff and patients.