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The First Primary Care Conference Held Today in Abu Dhabi

The First Primary Care Conference was held today, 27 April, at the Dusit Thani Hotel Abu Dhabi, and was attended by over 150 healthcare professionals. The 1-day conference, organized by Danat Al Emarat Hospital for Women & Children, HealthPlus Network of Specialty Centers and Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi, included 12 different sessions discussing the resistance of antibiotics, obesity and bariatric surgeries, women’s health, red eyes and other eye problems, children’s health problems, mental health issues and more.

Speakers at the conference spoke about the dangers of obesity and its complication. Recent studies show that treatment of obesity related problems costs 15% of the total expenditure in many countries that have high obesity prevalence.

Dr. Samina Ahmad, Chair of the conference, Head of Family Medicine Department at Danat Al Emarat Hospital for Women & Children and HealthPlus Family Clinics in Abu Dhabi said, “The conference included 12 sessions and presentations and was mainly designed for primary care physicians and allied health professionals from nurses to technicians and pharmacists as we shed light on the important role of family medicine in the management of chronic diseases, women and children healthcare and screening, prevention and early detection of diseases, as well as our role in health awareness and education amongst the community. The conference is accredited for 7 hours of Continuous Medical Education by the Department of Health Abu Dhabi.”

She presented a lecture on antibiotic resistance, stressing on the efforts of the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi in eliminating the use of antibiotics without prescriptions, and the participation of all healthcare providers in training programs to raise awareness amongst physicians and pharmacists following international guidelines in the prescribing and dispensing of antibiotics, She mentioned that the successful implementation of health insurance in Abu Dhabi has highly contributed in eliminating the use of antibiotics without prescriptions.

Dr. Hazem Al Momani, General Surgery and Bariatric Surgery Consultant at Danat Al Emarat Hospital for Women & Children spoke about the surgical options for obesity management. He assured during his talk that obesity causes numerous chronic diseases and it has been a burden on healthcare institutions as the costs of treating obesity related problems including chronic diseases are high. Studies show that the cost of treating obesity related diseases in the Middle East for example reached 17 billion dollars in 2015. Thus, preventing obesity will help save a lot of resources that could be used elsewhere.

He also emphasized on the importance of healthy diets especially for children to avoid obesity, and that 6 countries out of the top 20 countries with the highest obesity rates are in the Middle East region.

He also pointed out that bariatric surgeries that are performed at Danat Al Emarat Hospital for Women & Children in Abu Dhabi successfully. These surgeries are the last resort incase all other treatment methods fail, as this type of surgeries are just tools to help patients lose weight and become healthier. He also talked about bariatric procedures like gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and gastric balloon. He also stressed on the importance of exercising, adapting healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet to avoid obesity and its complications. Dr. Al Momani spoke also about a case who was diabetic, and in 6 months, her sugar levels were back to normal, and her weight dropped from over 130 KG to less than 100 KG.

In his presentation on women’s health, Dr. Sadoon Sadoon, Medical Director and Obstetrics, Gynecology and Minimally Invasive Surgery Consultant at Danat Al Emarat Hospital spoke about the common women’s health problems and warned from the late diagnosis of endometriosis. He said that some women are diagnosed with endometriosis ten years after they start suffering from the symptoms of the disease which make women suffer more from pain and increases infertility problems.

He explained that the problem of endometriosis is associated in many cases with the presence of uterine fibers, and delayed treatment increases the complications, which would affect the ovaries and cause infertility.

He pointed out that around 20% of women suffer from endometriosis, and in many cases the woman would be diagnosed after two years or more. Statistics also show that 30 to 40% of women who have infertility problems suffer from endometriosis and uterine fibers. The incidence of uterine fibroids between 25 to 50% of women.

Dr. Sadoon said, “GPs and Family Medicine physicians should be familiar with the symptoms and the diseases, so they know when to refer women to specialized physicians. Most of these problems are managed through laparoscopic gynecological surgery in highly specialized centers.”

Dr. Rasha Abbas, Psychiatry Consultant at Danat Al Emarat and HealthPlus Diabetes & Endocrinology Center talked about mental health problems in primary care, and the right time to refer a patient to a psychiatrist. She said, “90% of the cases of depression and anxiety of mild to moderate severity can be treated in primary health care centers. This requires training of primary health care physicians on how to diagnose mental illnesses through a set of simple questions that help determine the diagnostic process.” She added that depression is a common mental health illness, and its incidence is one in six people, and that it is more common in women.  In her lecture, she focused on the role of the primary care physician in determining the appropriate time to refer the patient to a psychiatrist before the problem gets escalated, as well as the importance of integrating mental health into primary health care.

In his talk, Dr. Mohammed Abuelkhair, Medicines Expert, talked about the importance of minimizing polypharmacy inpatients and trying to deprescribe medicine after careful assessment of the need to maintain the patient on his current therapy. In addition, he addressed the topic of potential interaction between Biotin and various lab tests such TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), cortisol, estrogen, FSH and Troponin (cardiac test).

The conference also focused on other common health problems seen by primary care and family medicine physicians. Dr. Islam Sidky, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Minimally Invasive Surgery Consultant discussed endometriosis and pelvic pain symptoms in women. From pediatric care side, Dr. Hani Rifai, ENT Specialist at HealthPlus Children’s Specialty Center and Danat Al Emarat Hospital presented a paper about ENT emergency cases, while Dr. Iviano Ossuetta, Head of Neonatology & Chair of Children’s Services at Danat Al Emarat Hospital spoke about decoding crying infants. Management of diabetes in primary care was also a topic presented by Dr. Mahmoud BenBaraka, Diabetes and Endocrinology Consultant at HealthPlus Diabetes & Endocrinology Center.

From ophthalmology angle, Dr. Hamed Anwar, Corneal and Refractive Surgery Consultant at Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi spoke to participants about common eye problems like the red eye, which is a very common problem seen by general practitioners.

Dr. Shweta Uppal, Head of Lab Services at Danat Al Emarat Hospital and HealthPlus Centers presented a paper about the accuracy of lab tests, and Dr. Samina Ahmad talked about antimicrobial resistance and risk of misusing antibiotics, a topic that’s vital for GPs and family medicine practitioners.

The conference was organized by MCO exhibitions and conferences.

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