Medical Laser in Hand of Doctor During Operation. Representational Image.
Medical Laser in Hand of Doctor During Operation. Representational Image. Pavel Danilyuk/

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, said Wednesday that the United Arab Emirates is committed to preventing disease and advancing medical knowledge to keep public health in check.

During his opening speech at the MENA Congress for Rare Diseases in Abu Dhabi, the minister said the medical advancement is being done under the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

He noted that the UAE officials are not only committed to preventing disease, but also treating it and caring for the patients with empathy and compassion.

"Our approach is comprehensive: we want to promote preventive care against the conditions that cause disease. At the same time, we are always searching for effective ways to diagnose, treat and manage disease, whether common or rare," he was quoted as saying by WAM.

The four-day event began Thursday and will conclude Monday. It brings together a total of 141 speakers, including 51 international experts from 27 countries. The event, being held in partnership with a flagship facility of Burjeel Holdings, Burjeel Medical City (BMC), will include 41 sessions in four days.

The sessions will cover various topics, including recent research, advancements in diagnostics and therapeutics, regional experiences, and challenges related to rare diseases.

Al Nahyan noted that it is vital to partner up with different sectors on international and regional levels to address rare diseases.

"I also share in your conviction that we need an effective regional strategy where combating rare diseases is a national and regional health priority. Such a strategy must be focused and comprehensive: superior medical personnel and first-rate health facilities are essential components," he said.

"We must also increase public knowledge about these diseases and make people aware of the common risk factors. We must assist patients in learning how to live with a rare disease. Physicians are on the front line of the fight against rare diseases and must embrace patient education as a key part of their role," he added.

The minister went on to praise the partnership with BMC, under the guidance of Indian radiologist and businessman Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, which demonstrated its leadership in the UAE's medical sector.

He acknowledged Vayalil's newly launched project, NADER, explaining that it signals a determination to treat rare diseases. At least 5% of people in the world are affected by rare diseases. Whereas, in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, the percentage is higher.