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Imperial College London Welcomes UAE Minister of Health

His Excellency Dr Hanif Al Qassim (3rd left), Prof Stephen Smith (4th left), Prof Salman Rawaf (2nd left) and the UAE delegation

On the 8th-10th February 2011 the WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health Education and Training at Imperial College London had the pleasure of hosting the United Arab Emirates Minister of Health, His Excellency Dr Hanif Hassan Al Qassim and his accompanying senior delegation. There were four days of visits, interacting with health leaders across London, strengthening collaborative links and viewing health services at a practical level.

The UAE is a federation of seven states termed Emirates including Abu Dhabi and Dubai with their separate health care authorities. Over 80% of the population are expatriates and the economy is one of the most developed in Middle East with a high level of health care. Like many countries, there are concerns about inequity in health and health care and active strategies and programmes are being put in place to address this.

His Excellency was welcomed to Imperial College by WHO Collaborating Centre Director Professor Salman Rawaf, who shared insights from his own executive experience within the NHS. At a visit to Brook Green Medical Centre, Dr David Wingfield lead discussions on General Practitioner training, compulsory patient registration and the clinical IT system designed to improve the management of chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes. Later the His Excellency met Lord Professor Ara Darzi and colleagues to discuss health policy training, academic innovation and technology. This was followed by dinner at the House of Lords.

The team visited the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges to discuss UAE challenges around the shortage and quality of family physicians. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is high in the UAE and it is a significant burden of disease. Professor Azeem Majeed, Head of Department of Primary Care and Public Health, and Dr David Wingfield shared their clinical and research experience addressing this issue.

The delegation also visited Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Medical education, health innovation and health care reforms were on the agenda. The team took a guided tour of the hospital’s departments and services including the Day Surgery Unit, the Clinical Skills Laboratory and Simulation Centre, the Hospital’s pharmacy and the innovative new Stroke Unit which is achieving impressive results.

On the final day, Professor Stephen Smith, CEO of Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust and Pro-Rector (Health) at Imperial College, met with His Excellency and WHO Collaborating Centre staff. Together they discussed the development of the relationship between Imperial College and the UAE. Hospitality was shown with a gift for each of the delegates. Concluding the visit, His Excellency met with Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health, Anne Milton at Richmond House, Department of Health exploring mutual collaboration between the two countries.

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