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29 July 2022

MBRSG Joins International Symposium on Public Health Surveillance

The Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG) joined the International Symposium on Public Health Surveillance, which brought together leading institutions from India and the UAE to explore and address the human resources training needs for public health systems in both countries. 

The Symposium’s agenda included online events in collaboration with MBRSG, University of Dubai’s and the Ajman University. Two sessions also took place in India in parallel with the Dubai sessions: one at the Ramaiah Medical College in Bengaluru, and another at the Global Business School and Research Centre at Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune (Deemed-to-be University) (DPU). 

The first Plenary Session of the Symposium featured Professor Raed Awamleh, Dean of MBRSG, Dr Arthur King, Director of Academic Affairs and was moderated by Dr Immanuel Azaad Moonesar, Associate Professor of Health Administration and Policy at MBRSG. The session focused on the future of health and set three main learning objectives: understand the current state of healthcare and public surveillance in India and the UAE; explore the future tenants of health and public health surveillance challenges, and finally comprehend the meaning for the future.

“Infectious diseases remain an important public health problem causing up to 63% of all childhood deaths and 48% of all premature deaths globally; responding to introductions of diseases and conditions of unknown aetiology is a critical public health function. Effective public health surveillance systems can provide timely and accurate information leading to early detection of potential outbreaks and containing them in the local areas,” Prof. Awamleh said.

On the current state of public health surveillance in the UAE, Dr. Immanuel highlighted the efforts made by the Ministry of Health in the UAE, which has developed a national health agenda in order to manage the health system at the national level. The discussion moved on to outline the global future tenants of health, citing a fundamental shift from “health care” to “health”, a future focus on wellness, and the emergence of newer roles to drive value in the transformed health ecosystem, such as data sharing, interoperability, equitable access, empowered consumers, behaviour change, and scientific breakthroughs.

The Dean of MBRSG went on to describe the Future of Health Ecosystem, which consists of three pillars: Data and platforms, the “backbone” of tomorrow’s health ecosystem; wellbeing and care delivery, with a consumer-centric approach, and care enablement, through connectors, financers, and regulators, to help make the health industry’s engine run.

Dr Moonesar then joined the first Roundtable Discussion, titled ‘Public Health Surveillance: Global Overview and Regional Issues’, moderated by Dr Lalitha K. of the Department of Community Medicine at Ramaiah Medical College. 

Also on the panel were Dr. Fatma Bin Shabib, Head of Health Policy Development Section at Dubai Health Authority (DHA); Dr. Hend Al Awadhi, Public Health Consultant & Head of Health Promotion and Education Section at DHA; Dr. Habib Mohamed Al Ismaily, Consultant in Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery at Dubai’s Rashid Hospital; Dr. Ayesha Ahmad Al Theeb, Consultant and Head of Public Health Programmes and Studies Section at DHA, and Dr. A.L. Kakrani, Professor of Clinical Eminence & Director of Academic Collaborations, at Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth Medical College. 

Dr Moonesar outlined a set of challenges and public health issues facing the public health surveillance sector in the UAE, particularly non-communicable diseases, which can significantly contribute to morbidity, mortality, and economic losses in the UAE. This has prompted the UAE to adopt clear strategic health plans to develop human health as a cornerstone of the country’s development and progress, he explained, citing Vision 2021, which puts health services at the forefront of national development plans.

The event concluded with a ‘Vote of Thanks by Prof. Ananth Rao, Emeritus Professor of Finance at the Dubai Business School of the University of Dubai and a Non-Resident Research Fellow at MBRSG.

The International Symposium on Public Health Surveillance welcomed public health workers, non-healthcare workers, and health sector personnel from any level, who have a Bachelor’s degree as a minimum requirement. It also targeted government officials, health academics, private-sector health officials, health informatics experts, public health practitioners, and health sector NGOs.

The Symposium sought to lay the foundations for Public Health Surveillance (PHS) capacity-building initiatives, including a six-month Certification Programme in Public Health Surveillance (CPHS) that offers four interdisciplinary courses: Community Health Care and Public Health Practice, Health Systems, Health Policy Management, and finally, Health Information Systems and Surveillance. Each of four courses covers the basics of PHS for healthcare professionals and others from outside the sector.

A consortium of organizations in the UAE and India jointly spearheaded efforts to organize the Symposium, namely, MBRSG, University of Dubai, Centre for Executive Development at the University of Dubai, Ramaiah Medical College, Ramaiah International Centre for Public Health Innovations, Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology, Ajman University, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth Pune (Deemed-to-be University), Nitte Education Trust, SAMViT, and Nitte College of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 

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