Arab Health 2012: A sneak peek behind the canvas

by Diana Bradley, Staff Writer | January 13, 2012
From the January 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

37 years ago, under canvas on a patch of land, a pocket-sized trade show called Arab Health was born. Only four years later, organizers had to charter a cruise ship to moor alongside the exhibition, as surrounding Dubai hotels couldn’t keep up with the attendees’ demand for accommodation. Transpiring Jan. 23-26 at Dubai World Trade Center, Arab Health has evolved into the largest health care exhibition and congress in the Middle East – and it’s getting bigger.

In 2010, four new Sheikh Saeed halls added over 25,000sqm to existing exhibition space at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center, allowing Arab Health to expand by more than 20 percent in size from previous years. The exhibition’s rapid growth reflects the increasing importance of the Middle East as a global health care hub, according to Simon Page, managing director of Life Sciences, Informa Exhibitions, whom organized the event.

“Early exhibitors tended to specialise in hospital supplies, providing beds, bandages and scanning equipment; but even in the early days, there were a number of specialist participants,” he said. “As Dubai and the United Arab Emirates developed and grew, so did the need for health care facilities and infrastructure.”

Providing a platform for the global health care market – particularly: North America, Europe, Asia, Australasia, South America and the Middle East – Arab Health’s attendees can meet, learn, network and do business. A wide range of health care companies, services and products, including leading manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors, along with various seniority levels are attracted to Arab Health; even Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II visited the exhibition in 1979.

“We are just as likely to attract a locally based nurse, as a hospital CEO from New York,” said Page.

Fresh features
Sponsored by the Cleveland Clinic Center for Continuing Education, this year’s four-day event will see over 71,940 health care professionals in attendance; more than 3,000 exhibiting companies from around the world; 36 international pavilions; exhibitors from more than 60 countries; and a regional industry worth $80 billion per year.

The Arab Health Congress has 17 conferences scheduled to take place at the exhibition and will provide the opportunity to earn Continuing Medical Education credit. Conferences on biomedical engineering, medical education, psychiatry, histopathology and wound care will premier at this year’s event.

“Since 2004, I have been a delegate at [the Arab Health Congress’] Imaging and Diagnostics conference,” said Dr. Yasar Mehdi, radiologist at Fujairah Hospital, UAE. “Over the years, I have seen it grow tremendously; in fact, I believe it has been a complete sell out for the past couple of years. I have always felt that the conference focuses on particular issues relevant to radiologists and radiographers, like myself, working in the region.”

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