Dubai takes health concerns to heart

While UAE leaders continue to revamp the country's entire health care system, hoping to make it a hub for the region, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is focusing on one particular part of the human body: the heart.

A recent Gulf News Society story says the DHA signing an agreement with the Dutch technology company Philips to bring an app to market this year that will could help prevent deaths from sudden cardiac arrest.

Studies cited by the article show that sudden cardiac arrest accounts for millions of deaths annually, and that the survival rate drops to 10 percent or less if an attack is not treated within minutes. The proposed app would send information to the closest trained medical staff and the closest rescue gear, such as a defibrillator.

Pilot programs are already in place Copenhagen and Seattle.

Philips CEO Arjen Radder said the app notifies police and ambulance personnel, who can come to help, conduct an ECG and transmit the patient to an emergency department.

The public, Radder said, could also have access to the app.

“As of now, we aim to train 100,000 people in providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR),” Radder said. “Then we will integrate the police, ambulance services, CPR-trained professionals and some other personnel.”

The Gulf News Journal spoke with Julie Lombardi, associate professor at the Wellness and Sport Sciences Department at Millersville University in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Lombardi is one of the members of the university’s Employee Wellness Committee, which organizes and implements an annual "Dress Red" Luncheon to bring women the message of heart health.

“As a staunch supporter of men’s and women’s heart health, I am so pleased to read of the implementation of this heart-healthy app for the entire city of Dubai,” Lombardi said. “Not only will it be a true lifesaver, but it will also enhance the heart-healthy educational message throughout the city.”

Heart safety is not the only area in which Dubai leaders are innovating when it comes to health care.

Reports from early last year showed expansion efforts underway at the Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC), a medical network billed by UAE officials as the “largest healthcare free zone” in the world, with the addition of the Clemenceau Medical Center there.

A resource from the US-UAE Business Council released in September 2016 chronicles other major efforts to improve and enhance a national health care system with a lot of promise, not just for UAE residents, but also for medical tourists in the region looking for a place to receive care and services.

It’s all part of a plan to diversify the country’s economy and compete in a fast-pace and globalized world.