More preparation needed in fighting health hurdles: Report - GulfToday

More preparation needed in fighting health hurdles: Report


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Everyone’s health and improving all healthcare measures and systems have become more important than ever as the world reels from the Novel Coronavirus (COVID19) disaster, creating more innovations and inventions.

This was gleaned from the 13-page “Life After COVID19: Health,” a copy of which was emailed to the media on Wednesday afternoon.

The report is a collaboration of two government organisations namely the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) and the Dubai Future Council for Health and Well-Being (DFCHW).

Specifically, mentioned in the report are the following, which could be part of the so-called “new normal” that entail more innovative-ness and inventive-ness:

• Air samplers in public areas to test people’s health.

• Portable genomic sequencers in both public and domestic spaces to identify new air-borne viruses.

• Body heat detectors and facial recognition software for tracing infected people and eventually alerting as well those they have come in contact with at the quickest time possible.

• Genomic information as an addition to the standard family history, residential address and bank details in the data gathering procedures on citizens and residents.

Stating that the healthcare sector must be more prepared in tackling “unknown challenges,” the authors also wrote: “By sequencing (people’s) genome almost immediately and sharing it with (laboratories) around the world in real time, such technology would enable viruses to be assessed before they spread rapidly.”

They cited a caveat in the case of more Artificial Intelligence being prevalently utilised in the healthcare industry: “Quantum computers will be depended on for computational speed and diagnostics. This will allow for more healthcare data but may result in a healthcare sector that is increasingly more machine-based than human.”

The report is part of a series of discussions and deliberations on how the UAE in general could move on and move forward from the COVID19 global crisis as the stakeholders are also concerned on the wider 22-country Arab Region which include Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen.

The report noted that the UAE is leading the region in the collection, assessment and treatment of the SARS-CoV2 highly upper respiratory infectious disease with over 2.5 million administered tests; thus, making the country among the world leaders in testing per capital.

The authors included the total number of cases across the region at 577,330 as of June 13 (Saturday) wherein Saudi Arabia ranked first with 119,942 cases and the UAE at third place with 42,982.

Fourth to 17th were Egypt (41,303), Kuwait (34,952), Oman (21,071), Iraq (17,770), Bahrain (17,713), Algeria (10,698), Morocco (8,610), Lebanon (1,422), Tunisia (1,093), Jordan (915), Yemen (636), Libya (409), and Syria (164).

Dubai Health Authority director general/DFCHW chairman Humaid Al Qutami said: “Throughout history, we have witnessed that it is particularly during times of war and crises that significant breakthroughs have been made leading to the well-being and prosperity of the wider community.”

He however added that with inventions and novel solutions come “comprehensive evaluation of the situation (and) meticulous planning to ensure logical and realistic outcomes.”

DFF chief executive officer Khalfan Belhoul said: “‘The Life After COVID19: Health’ aims to serve as a source of insight on the future of healthcare as well as highlight trends and propose short-and-long term solutions to support leaders and decision-makers (for) proactive sound (resolutions) and strategies.”

Recently, the Dubai Future Academy, DFA, an initiative by Dubai Future Foundation, has launched “Empower Yourself”, an online directory targeting frontline workers to upskill and transform their capabilities, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

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