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06 November 2020

Sixth Virtual Global Symposium on Health Systems Research Kicks Off Tomorrow

The Sixth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (HSR2020) kicks off tomorrow (Sunday, November 8, 2020), hosted by the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG), in collaboration with the Knowledge to Policy (K2P) Center at the American University of Beirut’s Faculty of Health Sciences, as well as the World Health Organisation and the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research.

The event is scheduled to run from Sunday, November 8, until Thursday, November 12, 2020. It was launched on Thursday, November 5, in a virtual YouTube session attended by H.E. Humaid Al Qatami, Director General of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Chairman of MBRSG’s Board of Trustees; Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO); Asha George, Chair of the Board at Health Systems Global (HSG); and several members of the ‘Emerging Voices for Global Health’ program.

“The Symposium presents a prime opportunity to discuss the various health challenges currently facing the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean region – especially in light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak,” said H.E. Humaid Al Qatami. “It is no secret that this pandemic has become a focus, not only of health policies, but of all social and economic policies with no exception, and the efforts made to contain this crisis have become an important indicator of the future shape and condition of our world and its population.”

H.E. Al Qatami went on to note that the UAE has made great strides in dealing with COVID-19 at every level. “The Emirates’ success was made evident in the international indicators monitored by Forbes magazine, which ranked the UAE as the safest country from COVID-19 in the Arab World, and the ninth safest globally,” he said. “Despite the many projections that either confirm or deny the end of the pandemic in the next few years, this experience has underlined an indispensable need to develop health policies and systems to protect our societies under any circumstances, and to ensure universal access to world-class healthcare services. This is the way to achieve social justice.”

His Excellency explained that MBRSG is committed to fulfilling its ambitious vision to drive outstanding results across the government – and particularly in vital sectors, such as healthcare. “Our presence here today, at this important event, is concrete evidence of our determination to proactively develop practical and effective solutions to our health challenges,” he said, reiterating his confidence that all participants will come together and work as a team with the common goal of developing healthcare systems and establishing them as a successful model to be emulated around the world.

“Today, together, we look forward to a new era in the healthcare sector, an era of change – positive change – through which we aspire to create health systems that are more efficient and of higher quality. We look forward to advanced scientific and medical research that can save millions of people around the world,” H.E. Al Qatami concluded.

For his part, H.E. Dr Ali Sebaa Al Marri, Executive President of MBRSG, said: “The launch of the Symposium is an affirmation of Dubai’s position as a hub that attracts brilliant minds and expertise from around the world to discuss challenges, come up with innovative solutions, and work to upgrade key sectors and services. In light of current circumstances and rapid developments taking place around the world, we are in dire need of proactive and visionary thinking that anticipates crises and develops appropriate solutions for them.”

Dr Al Marri stated that MBRSG is committed to organising and hosting global events that contribute to shaping the future of the sectors that most impact human life. “The Symposium provides a platform to unite efforts and come up with the best proposals and scenarios to shape the future of the health sector – especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the tremendous effects it has had on human health and on the world’s economies,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Immanuel Azaad Moonesar R.D., Associate Professor of Health Administration and Policy at MBRSG, said: “The world today is facing immense health challenges; and this calls for joint action and a unified vision to develop policies and strategies that facilitate access to efficient, research-based future health systems. Such an approach will ensure the provision of better health services and a better life for the people; this is the leading objective that the Symposium strives to achieve with the discussions and recommendations set to take place during its sessions. The event promises to be a global brainstorming workshop, aiming to improve the health sector.”

The theme of this year’s Symposium is ‘Re-Imagining Health Systems for Better Health and Social Justice’. The event welcomed over 2,000 decision-makers, experts, and researchers from more than 100 countries around the world, who participated in the Symposium to discuss the current challenges facing the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean region, including changing demographics, pandemics, and internal conflicts that significantly affect health and resources. 

With a full agenda of diversified sessions, the HSR Symposium discusses possible responses to these challenges from multiple sectors, emphasizing the importance of achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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