Addressing women’s unmet healthcare needs - GulfToday

Addressing women’s unmet healthcare needs


The panellists and the dignitaries at the Organon launch on Tuesday evening at the USA Pavilion.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

How the world will be able to help the heart that bears life from its beginning fulfil her mission, was discussed on Monday evening, when the regional office of a US pharmaceutical company, into the promotion of the health and wellness as well as addressing the unmet needs of women, was launched at the USA Pavilion of the Expo 2020 Dubai.

Panelists at the “Accelerating Advancements in the Health of Women Across the Region,” hosted by Organon, were UN Women-Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women for the Arab States regional director Suzanne Mikhail, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development-Networks, Partnerships and Gender Division head Bathylle Missika, John Hopkins Programme for International Education In Gynaecology and Obstetrics (Jhpiego)-Gender director Myra Betron, Flat6Labs (leading start-up accelerator and seed funding organisation in the Middle East and North Africa) chief investment officer Dina El-Shenoufy, Friends of Cancer Patients director general Dr Sawsan Al Madhi, and Organon chief commercial officer Dr Suzanne Fiedler.

They expressed their views on the value of quality data gathering and analysis that help secure correct legislations not only for women but for all communities; the necessity to continually put out in the open cases of women’s and girls’ dis-empowerment, and, the need for men to be proactive relative to women’s issues.

Mikhail said: “Better understanding and addressing women’s unmet healthcare needs is essential to achieving the Sustainable Goals of the 2030 Agenda, including the critically important goals of gender equality and female economic empowerment. Besides looking at health services as a basic right by itself, women’s health is directly related to economic development as well. For example, women could add $28 trillion (or 26 per cent of the global gross domestic product) to the global economy by 2025, if their health issues are addressed, allowing them to participate in the labour market more fully.”

Organon is the only company in the world focusing exclusively on women’s health and while it serves 140 markets with its 60 medicines and solutions including biosimilars, its Middle East/North Africa/Turkey (MENAT) office was recently inaugurated at the Dubai Healthcare City to better serve and help the United Nations achieve its Sustainable Development Goal for Gender Equality and Female Empowerment across the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Ukraine.

In his keynote address, chief guest Ministry of Health and Prevention-Public Health Policy & Licensing Sector assistant undersecretary Dr Amin Hussein Al Amiri, hailed the entry of Organon into the region of about 793 million inhabitants, saying the UAE fully supports everything that advances women’s status and concerns. He said women’s status and concerns are highly-placed-that being the national leadership’s priority-as the prioritisation is also enshrined in the National Agenda 2021-that include indicators in the sectors of education, healthcare, economy, police and security, justice, society, housing, infrastructure and government services Citing World Health Organisation data showing that most of women’s health challenges are preventable, Al Amiri expressed gratefulness that officials of the drug firm considered the UAE as a regional headquarters.

He said that at the national and federal levels, authorities are keen in building “strategic partnerships” and collaborations towards healthy productive life for all: “We are happy that Organon joins the 89 different international (pharmaceutical companies here), an evidence of how an international company (with 100 per cent ownership) can join us (through the implementation of the best practices in terms of legislation and policies).”

US Consul General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates Megan Gregonis connected the entry of the company to the theme of the USA Pavilion-Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of the Future: “The USA Pavilion tells a story of how our values and how the USA is a great place for innovation; how innovation is the USA help us create a better future not only for the Americans but for people all around the world.”

Weaving the USA Pavilion theme to women’s health particularly to the hundreds of thousands of girls and women in the MENAT, Gregonis stated that “life, liberty and the pursuit of the future may vary “based on (one’s) culture and values; but there is a common ground for all women and that is women’s health.”

She then defined “Health (as a) fundamental enabler that allows young girls and grown women alike, to pursue their dream and maximise their potentials. Organon is a great example of an American company that is finding answers to questions of what life, liberty and the future means to women.”

Gregonis was thankful that through the launch, thought leaders were invited to voice out their opinion on women’s issues that need to be talked about and sought answers for. She said UAE is an excellent model for the support to women empowerment. She welcomed the entry of Organon at the DHCC which props the country as a global health destination.

Interviewed, Organon-MENAT associate vice president Ramy Koussa said: “One of our missions in the region is to create the right platforms to listen to thought leaderships in different areas to make sure that we are listening to women’s need in healthcare.” On the topic of contraceptives, still a very delicate and sensitive topic in the region cloaked with religious orientations and traditions, and which Organon’s Fiedler mentioned at the panel discussions as the company has the core areas of reproductive medicine, contraceptives, psychiatry, hormone replacement therapy and anaesthesia, Koussa said: “Women’s health is a challenge across the globe, not only within our region. While those challenges may be different from one country or region to another, we understand, these nuances and our company exists to help solve those needs.”

“Often, health concerns that disproportionally impact women have gone un-addressed. Therefore, understanding the complexity of women’s healthcare, we believe that we must, first and foremost, help elevate the voice of women to understand their needs. Together, we support them, their families, and all communities.”

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