News story

Warm welcome for UK diabetes prevention programme in Dubai

UK’s approach to prevention through targeted lifestyle changes generates interest at Arab Health 2017.

Nicola Blackwood, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health, addressing a UKIHMA reception for UK exporters attending Arab Health.
Nicola Blackwood, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health, addressing a UKIHMA reception for UK exporters attending Arab Health.

Healthcare UK secured the first commercial Letter of Intent to participate in a new diabetes prevention programme in the Middle East. The programme has been developed in partnership with NHS England, Public Health England, and Diabetes UK.

Diabetes is an urgent public health challenge shared by the UK and the Gulf countries. A commercial organisation in Qatar is now working with UK health organisations to scope and roll out the prevention programme in Qatar.

Our approach with the diabetes programme has been to take an existing UK capability and make the learning from it available overseas. This is a model that we are looking to replicate in other areas.

Growing demand for UK healthcare in the Middle East

Arab Health is an important event for Healthcare UK as there is growing demand for healthcare in the Middle East. Healthcare UK has now widened its strategic focus to include Qatar and Oman, alongside Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

The Healthcare UK team works closely with:

  • our partners in UK embassies and consulates across the region
  • the International Healthcare Management Association (UKIHMA) - established by Healthcare UK to help UK suppliers respond to high-value opportunities by bringing together consortia of exporters

Minister Blackwood puts the spotlight on mental health and innovation

The UK presence at Arab Health was headed up by Nicola Blackwood, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health.

The minister had a packed programme, leading a large number of high-level discussions with ministries of health in the region. Several of these discussions were about mental health and innovation, areas in which the minister has a particular interest.

The minister highlighted the NHS digital health initiative, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, and also attended a demonstration of 3D tools that can be used for surgical training.

Value of building strategic partnerships

Through seminars, meetings and the Healthcare UK stand, we established several new links between UK suppliers of healthcare services and interested buyers at Arab Health 2017.

Together with UKIHMA, we ran a series of seminars showcasing the best of UK healthcare in fields that are in greatest demand in the Middle East: disease prevention and healthcare innovation. Sessions included breakthroughs in gene therapy and the latest advances in paediatric radiology.

Healthcare UK worked with the investment company, Ashmore, to run an event aimed at promoting the value of strategic partnerships to the UK organisations attending Arab Health. The event highlighted the benefits of partnerships between funders, NHS organisations, and local organisations in ensuring business success.

The Healthcare UK team at their stand in the heart of the Arab Health trade show.
The Healthcare UK team at their stand in the heart of the Arab Health trade show.

Arab Health

Arab Health is the largest gathering of healthcare professionals in the MENA region with:

  • 4,400 of the world’s leading healthcare companies
  • exhibitors from 70 countries
  • 102,000 visitors over the 4 days
  • attendees mainly from the Gulf and the Middle East region, with significant numbers from China, India, and South America

Further information

For more information about healthcare opportunities in the Middle East, contact Healthcare UK

Published 24 February 2017