Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology - Tawam Hospital, Al Ain

UAE Awards

Hamdan Award for an Outstanding Clinical Department in the Public Sector in UAE
2009-2010
History and Services
Affiliated with Johns Hopkins Medicine, USA, and operated by Abu Dhabi-based Abu Dhabi Health Services (SEHA), Tawam Hospital has been providing healthcare services to the residents of Al Ain and referral services for the emirates and the GCC states for the past 30 years.
In addition to ambulatory and dental services, the hospital provides a wide spectrum of services including Emergency, Critical Care, Medical, Surgical, Oncology, Maternal and Child Health services.
 
The department at Tawam Hospital is the only clinical Department in the UAE that provides the whole spectrum of services. A number of the Units are regarded as being particularly meritorious in view of unique contributions to patient care in the UAE. These include the renowned Fertility (IVF) Unit, the Fetal Medicine Unit and Gynecological Oncology Unit. In the IVF Unit, national staff members are currently being mentored with training for assisted reproduction and encouraged in research activity.
 
Standards of care are facilitated by the conduct of several multidisciplinary clinics/meetings involving Pathology/Cytology, Radiology, Medical Genetics/Counseling and Medical Oncology.
A Tumour Board meeting is held wherein complex cases can be discussed and management strategy determined.
 
Regular videoconferencing with Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, USA enhances the usefulness of these meetings. Thus, clinical services in a variety of fields are of the highest order. The Minimal Invasive Surgery Unit is developing rapidly and the Obstetrics Unit deals particularly with high risk pregnancies. Education and training are a major focus of both Units.
An emphasis on Community Gynecology with regard to screening, treatment and family planning services, health promotion and youth advisory work is commendable. This involves interaction with social services and agencies pertaining to reproductive health.
The assimilation of the latest technical developments is seen in various disciplines enabling e.g. intrauterine exchange transfusion, in vitro fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, embryo freezing and frozen embryo transfer and sperm freezing. The services provided by the Department are delivered by multidisciplinary teams of doctors, nurses, embryologists, sonographers and administrative staff.
Much time and effort is expended in education, teaching and training and the Department has been much involved in the conduct of Ultrasound and Minimally Invasive Surgery workshops as well as Conference organization and participation – locally, nationally and for international meetings. Numerous courses have been held with Departmental input also at scientific meetings and publications in high ranking professional journals.
An interesting feature of the activity of the Department is the attention now being paid, on a continuous basis, to Performance Management and this involves clinical audits, the development and introduction of clinical practice guidelines and key performance indicators. These enable determination of compliance with accepted standards nationally and international benchmarks. The department is distinguished by its state-of-the-art infrastructure, highly-professional staff and efficient systems in place that facilitates meeting or exceeding the international standards. Its services in-clude an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Unit that is supported by Abu Dhabi government, a fully-functional Gynecology-Oncology Division, Feto-Maternal Unit (FMU), Minimal Invasive Surgery Unit and Obstetric Division. One of its exemplary services is IVF programme which is the longest running government-sponsored programme in the UAE. The team has provided IVF services couples with exemplary success rates on par, or better, than European and US-based programmes. The success of IVF programme is highly dependent on the dedication of our Feta-Maternal Unit specializing in the area of diagnostic testing for fetal anomalies, management of fetal endocrine disorders, intrauterine growth programs, 1st trimester screening programs for high risk pregnancies and multi-fetal pregnancy care.
The department is actively involved in research and is participating in two drug trails and is also involved in an international multicentre trial in a particular form of treatment.
 
 
The Team
 
The department’s physicians are leaders in Middle East for specialized care and contribute individually and collectively to the body of research literature in a number of areas. Many of its physicians are invited lecturers to a number of medical conferences in the Middle East, Europe and the US. Dr. Saad Ghazal-Aswad is Senior Consultant Gynecological Oncologist, Chief of Gynecological Oncology Division and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology Department.
 
 
Major Facilities
 
FMU has made extraordinary progress in the past two and a half years.Currently, it runs two sub-specialized clinics per day. In total, it runs nine sub-specialized clinics. Today, FMU perform about 5000 examinations per year.
 
 
 
Fertility unit
 
Since its inauguration in 1990, the unit is providing Assisted Reproduction Treatment to patients from the UAE and other countries. Currently, it is the only fully government-sponsored fertility unit in the UAE where treatment is available to the UAE nationals, through the Thiqa insurance, and to nonnationals on a private basis. Tawam IVF provides almost 2500 treatment procedures and 10,000 consultants per year, thus becoming the number one service provider in the UAE.
The clinic is looking to establish a pre-implantation diagnosis/screening (PGD/PGS) service which will help to detect a number of genetic abnormalities in patients who are at risk. The IVF laboratory is also working in liaison with Oxford University on a more basic scientific project examining a number of parameters in sperm function. As a male factor accounts
for more than 50 per cent of infertility cases in the gulf, this research will make a valuable contribution, particularly as the options for treatment are limited.
Gynecology Oncology (GO) Division is the only service in the UAE that provides specialized care for national and expatriates women with gynecologic malignancies. GO is creating a data base for all Gyne-cancer and pre-cancer pathology investigations and data will be collected on both prospective and retrospective basis. It is also looking at the feasibility of establishing a tissue bank for future research. Minimal Invasive Surgery Division, formed in February 2008, gets referrals from all over the UAE; about 70 per cent of our cases are complicated and high risk. Since the service started, it has already performed close to 400 procedures.
 
 
Performance in Numbers
 
In 2008, the IVF Unit comprised 12,793 patients care episodes, up by 40 per cent compared with the previous year. The FMU carried out over 5000 ultrasounds (intra-uterine diagnosis) in 2009 and is planning to introduce fetoscopy services soon. The Gynecology-Oncology is the only clinical division in the country that provides a whole spectrum of diagnosis and management of different types of genital cancer. In 2009, it handled 2305 patient care encounters.
The Minimal Invasive Surgery Division provides all types of laparoscopic and hysteroscopic procedures (228 procedures a year). It is planning to expand the services to deal with all GYNE-Urology problems.
The Obstetrics and Gynecology Division has approximately seen more than 36,655 outpatients. It also provides more than 5000 inpatient consultation at the Labor and Delivery and Emergency Department. In 2008, many new services were launched including Placental Disease Clinic, Menopause Clinic, Polycystic Ovary disease Clinic (PCO) and Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD). It is planning to introduce more clinics such as GTD, Vulval Disease Clinic and Pre-implementation Genetic Diagnosis Clinic (PGD).
 
 
Expansion Plans
 
It is in the process of developing Obstetric Medicine Sub Division and planning to develop Community Gynecology as a separate division.
These services have been designed based on community focus groups, youth advisory work, and the identified need to provide services to women of the UAE along the full continuum of their life. This programme is dedicated to early screening programmes and identification and treatment of gynecological issues. In addition the programme is advancing their focus to include contraceptive education, family planning, youth advisory work, and community agency integration of all phases of reproductive health.
The department plans to use the Sheikh Hamdan Award’s money to support the creation of a new Research Nurse post to facilitate programme integration, data collection for public health and communitybased research publications, and to provide a community liaison for programme expansion. The award will fund this vital post for a period of three years.
 
The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Al Tawam Hospital, backed by a state-of-the-art infrastructure and highly-professional staff and efficient systems that facilitates meeting or exceeding the international standards, has been providing a whole spectrum of services to the residents of the UAE and neighboring countries and raised the status of the country in the medical world.
It contributions to the healthcare services and medical education are commendable and are being recognized through the Hamdan Award for Outstanding Clinical Department in the Public Sector in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
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