ISLAMABAD: The Health Services Academy (HSA) in collaboration with Dynamic Medical Company (DMC) organized a Medical Conference and Exhibition on Next Generation Healthcare on Friday.
Special Technology Zones Authority Chairman Amer Hashmi, ex-Surgeon General of Pak Army, Lt-Gen (r) Asif Mumtaz Sukhera, Health Services Academy VC Prof Dr Shahzad Ali Khan, former Ambassador to China Ms Naghmana A Hashmi, Advisor to GoP on Health Dr Ghazna Khalid, and numerous other professionals from public health sector attended the conference.
Lt-Gen (r) Sukhera delivered inaugural remarks. Later, various speakers from South Korea, Singapore, Norway, Finland, Germany, Turkey, China, and Pakistan delivered their presentations on different themes around genetics. One of the major objectives of this conference was sensitizing the participants, the general public and the government to hereditary or genetic disorders, its timely diagnosis and available treatments.
In his speech HAS VC Dr Khan said that Pakistan is ranked among the countries having high alert of genetic disorders, adding that risk factors associated with the genetic defects are primarily due to cousin marriages. Majorly the increased incidence and prevalence of the genetic disorders are associated with lack of pre-natal testing facilities in the country.
Ms Hashmi said that medical technology is now an inevitable solution to Pakistan’s inclining disease burden and initiating research evidence-based interventions for genetic diseases in Pakistan will open another dimension of trade i.e. Pak-China Health Corridor. According to Lt-Gen (r) Sukhera, the healthcare system in Pakistan is based on preventive model, and that it needs to shift to curative model to move forward. He further said that Pakistan needs international collaborators for expanding this proposed project of healthcare development through Artificial Intelligence, Information Technology, Biotechnology and Genomics.
After the remarks, thematic sessions by various researchers, genetic specialists, medical doctors were started. During first session, Prof Dr Mubashir Hanif, Director ORIC, Health Services Academy enlightened the participants to genetic counseling which should be initiated at national level. Moving further, Mr. Richard and Mr. Ryan from Airdoc China presented a technological solution to the stigma of rising hereditary disorders. Similarly, Dr. Jurgen Feuerstein from Netherlands, SPL Medical University Nijmegen suggested alternative remedies to treat cancer at an earlier stage. Bilal Mumtaz, a digital healthcare entrepreneur, delivered a lecture on the commercial viability of direct-to-consumer genetic tests in Pakistan. Lastly, a panel discussion was held around the key takeaways of the conference, in which it was unanimously put forward that the rising burden of the inherited disorders can be decreased via pre-marital genetic testing and counseling in healthcare system in Pakistan through technological interventions.
In his special address, chief guest STZA Chairman Amer Hashmi shed light on the work done by federal govt. through technology zones and specifically advised the VC Dr Khan to get HSA registered as first Med-Tech Zone in Pakistan on private-public partnership model through processing of its licensing by STZA.
DMC, the collaborating partner BGI Health (HK) Co. Ltd’s Director Marketing Mr Han and Ms. Christina, presented the company’s clinical portfolio in the domains of molecular diagnostic solutions, healthcare research, and data based artificial intelligence. Furthermore, Neusoft Medical Systems, China’s Vice President International Business, Mr. Dan presented the 5-year project for national upgradation of medical diagnostic equipment including artificial intelligence (AI), academic and national service network and semi-knock down manufacturing of high-tech devices in Pakistan for local consumption and exports as well. It is worth mentioning that DMC in institutional collaboration with HSA and their Chinese partners, plans to set-up a Genetic Reference Laboratory and Research Center for genetic disorders in Islamabad at premise of HSA.
CEO, DMC, Mr. Owais Mir during the conference’s closing remarks thanked HSA, Airdoc, DMC, Neusoft, BGI, and all the participants and dignitaries for taking out the time. He mentioned that this conference will create an enabling environment for all medical technology-based research and innovation in Pakistan and this is only the beginning. More awareness on mass level coupled with federal govt.’s support will bring plan to action in form of genetic labs, DNA sequencing interventions, data mining and what not. The conference ended with high hopes and a pledge that Pakistan will soon control the inclining disease burden of genetic disorders through right decisions on right time.