UAE-Israel cooperation: Health care can help build bridges, director-general of Sheba Medical Centre says

October 22, 2021

Stem cell, AI, fertility and other areas of collaboration mark new era in UAE-Israel ties.

Dubai: Collaborations for joint research, major health-care investments and cutting-edge innovations are some of the advances that the UAE health-care sector can expect with its new tie-up with Israeli health conglomerate Sheba Medical Centre for Tel Hashomer in the post-Abraham Accord era. The Abraham Accord was signed between the United States, Bahrain, UAE and other countries of the Middle East with Israel in 2020 for a new era of interfaith collaboration.

Sheba Medical Centre (SMC) is one of the leading health-care bodies and has been accorded the status of top ten health-care centres internationally. It holds out the promise of a new dawn in health care in the UAE, said Professor Dr Yitshak Kreiss, director-general, SMC.

Professor Kreiss was at Israel Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai and spoke exclusively to Gulf News on some of the exciting new collaborations in health care that the two countries are currently working on.

“We have a vision for health care and found that the UAE shared the same vision. We have a three-pronged vision. The way I see it, health care is the biggest driver for economic growth, for closing down on inequalities in dissemination of health care and for being an engine for peace as medicine transcends politics, borders and other biases,” he said.

Health care for economic growth

Dr Kreiss further elaborated how SMC had entered in to new accords with various health-care entities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. “On the innovation front, driving economic growth for both countries, we are collaborating with UAE-based organisations such as G42 to provide artificial intelligence (AI)-based solutions, for instance. We have a huge human capital of more than 10,000 employees, of which, a substantial percentage are deployed in research. We are looking at ways to collaborate with the UAE on joint research projects, AI-driven solutions, stem cell research programme, infrastructure building and multiple collaborations for advancement in health care in areas such as cardiology, oncology, obstetrics, gynaecology, diabetes and fertility, to change the future of health care in both countries.”

Israel Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.
(Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News)

Diabetes management via telemedicine consultations

The health conglomerate has entered into collaborations with UAE-based Al Tadawi centre for management of diabetes in patients here via telemedicine and the programme, which is being managed from their diabetes centre in Israel, has been very beneficial to patients in UAE. In another innovative project, the hospital has entered an agreement with Aster DM Health Care Group and is working on the frontier of fertility and in the area of obstetrics and gynaecology with them. Professor Kreiss added: “We, at SMC, have the highest In Vitro Fertilisation success rate and are collaborating with the Aster Group in this field.”

Reciprocal exchange

Professor Kreiss also added that just as medicine, research has great potential to boost economies. It is also a great leveller providing health relief across countries and borders. Prof Kreiss shared an instance of how an Emirati daughter who was keen on donating a kidney to her sick mother but could not do so because of a mismatch, found a donor in Israel. “A donor kidney was flown from Israel for the patient, while another kidney from UAE was donated to save the life of a kidney patient in Israel. Two families benefited from this reciprocal exchange and this is an example of how advancements and collaborations between the two countries will benefit people of both the countries,” said Professor Kreiss.

Medicine as an engine for world peace

The third and most important function of such collaborations, according to Professor Kreiss, is to use medicine as an engine for peace. “The signing of the historic Abraham Accord has ushered in a new era of peace. Medicine is that frontier of peace which is not a political subject and has no cultural or language barrier. The only language that a sick person understands is that of compassion and medical care. We UAE residents will have access to SMC facilities, which is among the top-ten medical centres in the world and people in UAE will have access to top health-care facilities here. I am working towards providing residency to UAE doctors at our hospital in Israel, live with our people, experience our culture and hospitality. I expect our doctors to fly out to the UAE and experience its culture and hospitality, too. Both countries share the same vision for health care, research and development. We can build bridges through health care and medicine,” concluded Professor Kreiss.

This news originally appeared in Gulf News

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