By World Healthcare Journal-
Arab Health is definitely a global event and a global brand, says Exhibition Director, Ross Williams.
With more than 4000 exhibiting companies and 84,500 healthcare and trade professionals in attendance, Arab Health kickstarts each year with a punch. With $778m worth of business generated by exhibitors during the 2018 edition of the show, it’s an unmissable event on the global healthcare calendar.
Exhibition Director Ross Williams has been a part of Arab Health for the past eight years and understands the reasons behind the growth of the show. Dubai is the perfect location for such a global event, with easy access to visitors from anywhere in the world. But crucially for Arab Health, the city has a visibly thriving healthcare industry. “Even on my way to work this morning, there are two brand new hospitals which are being built and one which has just opened,” says Ross.
“With a name like Arab Health people may see it as a Middle East show, but with the audience we have attracted it is definitely a global event and a global brand. ”
That Dubai’s hospital facilities are growing so quickly is reflective of rapid regional growth in the Middle East and North African (MENA) healthcare market. The World Health Organisation predicted last year that the MENA healthcare market is set to grow by 5 per cent per annum and, according to Ross, “There are 700 health care projects worth $6.9bn USD under various stages of development at the moment, in addition to vast government initiatives. ”
This expansion is putting the Middle East at the centre of the global healthcare market and has generated the framework along with the historical longevity that allows Arab Health to thrive as a global event. This year’s exhibition will see leaders and providers in healthcare representing more than 160 countries.
With a large international population, Dubai’s own health challenges are becoming increasingly reflective of global health challenges. “The population here is growing constantly, and getting older, largely from expats like myself who decide to travel over to seek out our fortune and our place in the sun. As such, there is a higher prevalence of western diseases and health conditions. Some of the key factors stimulating the growth of the healthcare market in the region include the ageing population, increasing frequency of non-communicable diseases, high cost of treatment and mandatory health insurance. ”
That demographics in Dubai are shifting to widen the variety of health conditions prevalent in the area has led to a change in the perception of healthcare. This has facilitated the development of initiatives and technologies designed to treat an ever-increasing variety of medical conditions. This is further justification for Arab Health to command such significance in the global health care event calendar.
Predicting the future
As health providers and manufacturers try to stay ahead of the curve in the healthcare market, innovation is a key driver both in clinical technology and in the business models built around it. Showcasing this is a key priority for Arab Health. Working alongside government entities such as the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, Dubai Health Authority, Department of Health Abu Dhabi and SEHA, Arab Health will host the new Innovation Hub – a dedicated area at the show for attendees to immerse themselves in the latest healthcare innovations.
“The market is ripe for new healthcare start-ups and entrepreneurs looking to make their mark on the industry,” says Ross. “Over the years we have seen growing interest in new products and innovations that will contribute to shaping the future of healthcare. Hospitals, medical device manufacturers and service providers across the globe are facing increasing pressure to innovate in order to become competitive. ”
It is really an interesting time for healthcare and we are right in the middle of it here in the UAE
The Innovation Hub will feature the Innovation Showcase allowing visitors to explore the latest healthcare technology including AI, disease management and home care devices, mobile device accessories, telemedicine platforms, to name a few.
“One of the innovations I have seen recently is a virtual reality headset from Polish health tech company Pavilion to treat children who suffer from sight problems,” Ross comments.
The Innovation Hub will also be the platform for the inaugural Innov8 Talks at Arab Health. As well as daily free-to-attend talks with discussions led by keynote speakers, the Innov8 Talks will also host a series of pitch sessions where companies like Pavilion will have the opportunity to present their products and services to panels made up of highly esteemed judges from the healthcare industry.
“We also have an innovation demo area where some of the companies in the show will be able to demonstrate their products with like a hands-on approach,” says Ross. “This means you can actually feel the product and use it and then see what it does. ”
Technological innovations such as the VR headset have the potential to give independence back to patients, surely in line with the priorities of providers and governments across the world.
“The trade generated during the last edition of Arab Health is a strong indication that the private sector is also playing an important part in the development of the healthcare industry,” says Ross. “We anticipate that these figures will continue to grow in subsequent years. It is really an interesting time for healthcare and we are right in the middle of it here in the UAE. ”
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