We need to democratise healthcare: UAE expert

We need to democratise healthcare: UAE expert
We need to democratise healthcare: UAE expert

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - The UAE government, he said, is trying to figure out 'strategy' to tackle cancer.

The UAE's healthcare experts at the World Economic Forum made a case for affordable and accessible medical care for everyone in the world.

VPS Healthcare chairman and managing director Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, at a panel discussion, stressed on a 'holistic approach' to cancer care. The UAE government, he said, is trying to figure out 'strategy' to tackle cancer. "The governments and agencies are paying more attention and are looking for strategies to solve the issue. The awareness about cancer has increased and diagnosis has started to pick up. For example, we have breast cancer campaign going throughout the year," Vayalil said.

He noted the need of the hour is to have 'trusted' partnerships with key players. "For us, it's important to have more partnerships like what happening in the US, we want to attract bigger pharma companies to focus on the other side of the world. We want to do genomic research on the Arab and the Asian communities and act proactively in diagnosing and treating the disease at the earliest."

Vayalil underlined medical care should be affordable to everyone. He said the challenges in the developing world, apart from the absence of a medical system, are the unavailability of data and trained hands. "We have a lot of social responsibility toward a large group of population, who are devoid of basic care.

There is a social aspect of cancer care. We are talking about latest techniques, which are accessible to two or three per cent of the world population. We need to democratise healthcare," he added said.

Talk louder on mental health

Alisha Moopen, named in the top 100 Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum, pointed out the need for more discussions on mental health.

"Whether it comes to economy or personal health; it requires a conscious effort by individuals to engage and be in the mindset to find a solution and be active in its execution. At the end of the day, health impacts productivity; productivity drives consumption and corresponding economic growth propels societies forward. It is disheartening statistics that we hear about mental health. One in four people deal with or suffer from mental health at some point in their lives. There is a suicide attempt every 40 seconds and 75 per cent of mental health issues start before the age of 25. The problem is looming and the time to invest and act is now," Alisha, deputy managing director, Aster DM healthcare, said.

"When I reflect back on our own experiences with extending this care, both to our staff with a 24/7 helpline and to our new mums post-delivery, I was shocked to see next to no use of such a service because of lack of acceptance and fear of being exposed. The good trend we are seeing is that the millennials and young generation are not afraid to talk about it. What we need is the governments to include these in policies and to allow our population not to suffer in despair but with hope for recovery," she added.

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Ashwani Kumar

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