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On behalf of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum: HE Abdul Rahman AL Owais opens 1st Middle East & Africa Osteoporosis Meeting 20 October 2011
On behalf of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and President of Dubai Health Authority, HE Abdul Rahman Al Owais UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development and Acting Minister of Health opened yesterday 1st Middle East & Africa Osteoporosis Meeting at Intercontinental Hotel in Dubai Festival City, which is held over four days and organized by International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) in cooperation with Pan Arab Osteoporosis Society (PAOS) and Emirates osteoporosis Society (EOS) with the support of UAE Ministry of Health, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences and Dubai Health authority.
The opening ceremony was attended by Prof. Najuib Al Khaja General Secretary of the Award and Mr. Abdullah Bin Souqat the award’s CEO in addition to a galaxy of officials in Dubai health authority.
After listening to the recitation of the holy Quran, HE Abdul Rahman Al Owais delivered the speech of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in which HE conveyed the greetings of His Highness to all the guests and participants of the conference as well as participating organizations of the accompanied exhibition.
In his speech, HH referred to the importance of the conference as a unique scientific event held for the first time in the region to discuss and analyze osteoporosis disease; its diagnosis, treatment and ways of avoiding negative consequence on individuals, families and community members.
HH Sheikh Hamdan said that continuing medical education programs including conferences, training courses and workshops are the focus of our wise leadership as instructed by His Highness Sheikh Khelifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President, and the support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, UAE Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai as well as their highnesses members of the supreme council to develop medical human resources and healthcare staff and raise the capabilities of individuals and human resources.
HH Sheikh Hamdan added that local and international specialized studies proved the increasing numbers of osteoporosis among middle aged and older aged categories therefore all the healthcare sectors in the United Arab Emirates gave great interests to improve the diagnosis and treatment services through establishing medical specialized clinics which provide osteoporosis tests with the latest modern equipments and organizing training programs and workshops for doctors, dieticians and physiotherapists. These sectors also make greater efforts to disseminate health awareness programs to fight this disease all over UAE and communicate with the society to improve the healthcare system based on the latest medical and scientific developments in this field.
Also, HH Sheikh Hamdan referred to Hamdan Award for Medical Sciences which gave the subject great importance especially that osteoporosis was one of the main topics in its 6th session on 2009-2010. In this session, Professor John Kanis, President of the Conference and Chairman of International Osteoporosis Foundation won the award in recognition of his outstanding contributions in the field of osteoporosis.
“The award is always precedent in appreciating scientists and science and proactive in improving the health of community members”, HH said. After that, the attendees watched a film on the burden of Osteoporosis and its impact on individuals, families and societies, and the role of IOF in fighting osteoporosis.
Then Prof. John Kanis, the president of the conference and president of IOF, delivered a speech in which he talked about IOF Regionalization Program which enables the foundation to serve its 21 regional members and get input from local members on the development of regional projects.
“To this end there was a ratification of the IOF Regional Advisory Council in 2011. The purpose of the council is to advise IOF on the needs of the region”, he said. “In anticipation of the regionalization program, two years ago, IOF changed its By- Laws to provide for four global board members from the region – 2 elected from the region and 2 globally giving the region a broad exposure on IOF international board”, he added.
“IOF commitment is based on the confidence that the region will play a key role in addressing the growing burden of osteoporosis and thereby ensuring the long term health of its citizens”, Prof Joho said.
Dr. Khaled Al Muntasser president of PAOS and Co-Chair of the organizing committee delivered his speech in which he said that the meeting gathers leading experts from all over the world in the field of osteoporosis to give an up to date presentations which will cover all aspects of osteoporosis.
He also said that PAOS aims to establish osteoporosis societies in the Arab Region, promote awareness of osteoporosis among the general public and health professionals in the region and encourage research into osteoporosis and its prevention.
Dr. Mustafa Al Izzi president of EOS, Co-Chair of the organizing committee and a member of the Scientific Committee delivered a speech in which he talked about the activities of EOS since its establishment in November 2006 till now.
He also referred to the auditing report of the National Osteoporosis Epidemiological and Economic Impact Analysis, 2011 in which EOS has collaborated with the IOF initiative in preparing the needed country data.
“Osteoporosis in UAE has a rather unique situation with a country total population of around 5 million with a unique female/ male ratio = ¼”, he said. “More over the total population above age of 50 years is around 7% only which indicates that the majority are young population”, he added.
“Though no national hip fractures registry started yet in UAE, a recent study estimated a figure of 2.25 osteoporotic hip fracture prevalence in 1000 population, this data come from one major hospital records in Abu Dhabi”, he referred.
Osteoporosis and Hypovitaminosis D needs to be recognized as major health problems by the governmental health authorities in UAE. He also said that there is a need for government-approved osteoporosis management guidelines and prevention program in collaboration with the EOS, greater access to DXA scans, and increased awareness/education for health care professionals and for the public.
Patrice Mc Kenney CEO of IOF said that World Osteoporosis Day (20th of October) is an occasion to remind ourselves and our loved ones that bone health matters. “Osteoporosis and fracture prevention must become a priority for us all”, she said.
“The global campaign, launched in more than six languages, urged people of all ages to take three essential steps to set a strong foundation for healthy bones and muscles”, she added
She also referred to three steps for healthy bones i.e. enough vitamin D in take (through safe exposure to sunlight, diet, and supplementation if required (particularly if you are over 60), eat a calcium and protein-rich diet and Keep active with daily weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening physical activity. Concluding the opening ceremony, HE Abdul Rahman Al Owais opened the exhibition which deals with the latest technologies used in osteoporosis diagnosis and treatment.