At last year’s Arab Health Exhibition, 3D printing in healthcare was barely represented, even though it’s one of the fastest growing fields for the technology. Things have certainly changed at this year’s Arab Health Exhibition and Congress, which is held in Dubai; the UAE city-state is well-known for its enthusiastic commitment to the wider adoption of 3D printing in all fields, including transportation, construction, and the medical sector. Yesterday, on the final day of the exhibition, healthcare leaders and industry experts from all around the world gathered at one of the region’s most reputed healthcare conferences, the Leaders in Healthcare conference, which is held under the patronage of Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, the wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and Chairperson of Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCA).
At the conference, themed “Evolution of Healthcare Automation,” leading experts had the opportunity to discuss the current opportunities and challenges surrounding the adoption of cutting-edge healthcare technologies, such as 3D printing, robotics, and drones. Princess Haya was accompanied by the UAE Minister of Health and Prevention, Abdul Rahman Mohamed Al Oweis, and Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole. In a welcome change of pace and gender for the 3D printing industry, the princess was the keynote speaker at this important event, as she had been at last year’s conference. She began with a joke, stating that she was “relieved to see that I cannot be easily substituted by a robot,” and used that as her jumping-off point to stress the continuing importance of technological innovation, particularly when it comes to the medical field.
“I am very proud to be able to make a statement that reflects the humility of our healthcare teams,” stated Princess Haya in her keynote speech. “The combination of ambition and humility is the kind of balance that healthcare needs, and here in the UAE, we have that balance. Our leadership has embraced technology to ensure quality and it has never forgotten its people. And that is our message to all of you who visit us today. Our nascent system is exemplary in its approach to technology.”
In her speech, Princess Haya mentioned the rise of smart technologies in healthcare, such as a robotic pharmacy that was launched by the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention in Al Fujairah hospital last month; at the pharmacy, a robot is programmed, with the touch of a button, to perform tasks like arranging stock and preparing prescriptions.
“I have already alluded to the difficulty faced in embracing new technology in healthcare. To ensure successful adoption, we need to equip the physician, the patient, and the system with the right tools and knowledge. We also need to improve medical training to ensure future generations of doctors are proficient in the use of technology, social media, and digital platforms,” Princess Haya continued.
“And this is my point, this is where the balance lies – we have seen all kinds of machines and technologies that have created the architecture, but in the end, it was for the benefit of the people, to give them a home for the future. This same balance needs to be struck between innovation and medicine.”
After her speech, Princess Haya toured several of the nearly 4,500 exhibits, which included service providers, vendors, and manufacturers. She made a stop at the booth of platinum sponsor Siemens Healthineers, which recently entered into a partnership with Strata and Etihad to expand 3D printing, focusing on 3D printed aircraft interiors, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The company was exhibiting its SOMATOM imaging system.
The Arab Health Exhibition and Congress is considered to be the second largest in the world when it comes to healthcare exhibitions and congresses. From the looks of its Facebook page, the 3D Medical Printing Zone was much more popular this year, as many people were trying out some of the newest technologies on display. Other conference speakers included the Group CEO of informa, Arab Health organizer, Lord Stephen Carter, as well as Paul Miullen, GE Healthcare General Manager, Mohammad Bin Rashid with University of Medicine and Health Societies, and many more.Emirates 24/7]
Dr. Bernd Ohnesorge, Siemens Healthineers, President of the Region Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, said, “As a partner of the Leaders in Healthcare conference, we continue to support the UAE’s drive towards adopting innovative technology and comprehensive solutions for healthcare applications. The rapid adoption of new healthcare technologies and partnership models supports healthcare providers in improving patient outcomes, by streamlining processes and pushing the boundaries of patient care. The possibilities are endless for innovation in healthcare and this conference provides the ideal platform for leaders in the industry to converge and discuss how we can better utilize technologies for the benefit of patients across the region.”