Arab Health is held annually in Dubai and it is the leading healthcare exhibition in the region. In 2020, the event achieved deals worth more than €850 million. This year the focus was on the latest medical technologies and innovative solutions from state-of-the-art imaging equipment, to developments in surgery, to advancements in prosthetics.
The pandemic accelerates change
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed enormous strain on the global healthcare sector's workforce, infrastructure and supply chain and has accelerated change across the industry worldwide. Events like Arab Health are helping connect those parties.
More than 20 000 healthcare laboratories and trained professionals attended, including CMR Surgical, a medical technology company that produces a robotic surgery system called Versius.
John Acker, Head of USA Commercial for CMR Surgical, explains that Versius is for general surgery applications such as gynaecological, colorectal and thoracic procedures.
"The robotics offer a digital interface between the patient and the surgeon, and that information can be captured in the form of data,” he tells Euronews.
Earlier this month, the UAE became the first country outside the US to receive the newest antiviral treatment for COVID-19. Data shows that ‘Sotrovimab’ can prevent severe cases and death for some patients by more than 85%.
Imagining the future for better risk management
AI and technology are playing an even greater role in our daily lives, and many countries have developed strategies to plan and adapt. The Dubai Future Foundation works on future-proofing the city, from autonomous transport strategies to blockchain and looking at new ways to carry out business.
Dr. Noah Raford, Futurist-in-Chief & Chief of Global Affairs at Dubai Future Foundation says his job is more complex than 'predicting the future'.
"We try to imagine what the future might be like because we never really can say with any degree of certainty what is actually going to happen. But if you look at the combination of science and emerging technologies and emerging social and economic trends, you can start to try to imagine how they might combine even in a place like Dubai, which is extremely fast-paced."
Algae as a meat substitute
Elsewhere, Tunisia is being seen as a leader in Mediterranean seaweed farming. Red seaweed or algae is used for gelling and thickening agents that are increasingly becoming a substitute for animal-based products and in some foods, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
Mariem Mouheddine is a Biologist and Development Manager for Selt Marine Group. She says their "texturising products are used in confectionery, baking, and dairy items. We have developed a product that can replace animal proteins altogether.”
Mounir Boulkout, the founder of Selt Marine Group, described the process to us. They start by putting the algae, the natural biomass, in nets. They let them grow and once they have, they collect 80% of the production and dry it out. Once that is done they are formed into balls and sent to the factory.
The group is currently on its first industrial-scale harvest. By 2023, they hope to reach 80 hectares of cultivated seaweed, casting the nets on a new generation of farming.