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Monday, 2 April 2012



Gender-based approach needed to broaden understanding of women's health problems

( -- On average women live six to seven years longer than men.  However, the leading causes of death in women such as ischemic heart disease, stroke, lung disease, breast and cervical cancer can be easily prevented through simple screening tests and lifestyle modifications. In the past, work on women's health was focused on the health problems of women during pregnancy and childbirth. A gender-based approach has broadened our understanding of women’s health problems and helped identify ways to address them for women of all ages.

The Obs-Gyne Exhibition & Congress 2012 is organized by Informa Exhibitions in association with Arab Association of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Societies’ (AAOGS).  Taking place at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, the event will continue tomorrow (3 April) with more than 800 industry professionals attending lectures on the latest practices in midwifery, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, women’s healthcare, and breast cancer in the Arab World.

According to Dr. Humeira Badsha, Consultant Rheumatologist, Al Biraa Arthritis and Bone Clinic in Dubai, and Advisory Board Member of the Women’s Health Program at Obs-Gyne 2012, cardiovascular disease, for example, is now known to be a major cause of death among women.

“The problem is that this is not well recognized leading to delays in treatment-seeking and diagnosis among women.  The identification of gender differences in cardiovascular disease has made it possible to develop more effective health promotion and prevention strategies that have improved women’s health in many countries,” she says.

At the symposium, stroke and lung disease were also discussed as a major cause of death for women all over the world.

“About nine million women have a stroke each year and three million of these die as a consequence. High blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol are the main factors contributing to stroke. Although in this part of the world, women smoke less than their western counterparts, testing and controlling high blood pressure is the only way to prevent this killer disease,” Dr. Badsha explains.

Hundreds of millions of women worldwide are affected by chronic lung diseases such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases), asthma and bronchitis with more than three million people worldwide dying from COPD alone. “COPD and asthma are the most common lung diseases in the region although the exact prevalence is unknown, it is under-recognized and the rates are rising,” says Dr. Badsha.

Cervical cancer was once again a hot topic at the Obs-Gyne Congress. According to Dr. Saad Ghazal-Aswad, Chief Gynaecology-Oncology Division at Tawam Hospital in Al Ain, although there is no up-to-date, accurate data on cervical cancer in the Gulf region, Globacan 2008 (international agency for research on cancer) puts cervical cancer as the second most common cancer in the female after breast cancer in most of the countries in the Gulf region.

“Screening for cervical cancer by regular ‘Pap smear’ has resulted in significant reduction in cervical cancer incidence in developed countries. It is advisable to have a regular Pap smear every 1-3 years and many authorities advise that this should start at the age of 25,” confirms Dr. Aswad.

This year, the Obs-Gyne Exhibition features the latest products and technologies from 52 exhibitors from 20 countries. Global medical companies such as Siemens share in the doctors concern for early detection for women’s diseases such as breast cancer.

Maurice Faber, Vice President of Siemens Healthcare, Lower Gulf said: "Breast cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed life-threatening cancers in women in the UAE. Through early detection and diagnosis, deaths from breast cancer were reduced by approximately 24% since 1992 while about one-third of the cancer burden could be decreased. Early detection saves lives, and it is our goal as a technology partner to enable our customers to provide the best solutions for early diagnosis.”

GE Healthcare is on-hand for the second year to showcase their latest technology in the field of women’s health.

“The Obs-Gyne Exhibition & Congress is a key industry platform that brings together healthcare professionals in this specialized medical practice as well as the leading healthcare providers in the region. For GE Healthcare, it offers an ideal opportunity to showcase the latest technologies in our portfolio of ultrasound systems, which have a key role to drive operational efficiencies in obstetrics and gynecology,” says Hisham Youssef, General Manager for Ultrasound at GE Healthcare in the EAGM region.




Med-e-Tel (18-20 April 2012, Luxembourg)



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