FIGO Dubai Congress addresses crucial maternal health issues


Medical community educated on latest techniques and therapies related to women’s obs-gyn health in both developing and developed world

Gestational diabetes and other endocrine disorders during pregnancy a major threat to future

C-Section rates in UAE at 42%, much higher than world average; calls for medical and support staff to be equipped with the knowledge and expertise to address such challenges

Critical health issues pertaining to women across the world were discussed in depth at the FIGO Regional Congress of Middle East & Africa which commenced in Dubai. The three-day meeting from April 11th to 13this being held at the Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City, and aims to highlight technological, clinical and legal solutions for issues related to Obs-Gyn, maternal mortality, endocrine disorders, gestational diabetes, pre-term labour, C-section, and other pregnancy-and child-birth related complications. More than 80 eminent medical authorities from the across the world, including Health Ministers from Africa and Egypt, have gathered to impart information on the latest developments in the clinical world to hundreds of attendees at the Congress.

Discussing issues at the global level, experts highlighted the obs-gyn and fertility challenges that women in low-resource and developing countries face, and suggested practical and technological innovations to counter them. The Congress focused on a number of challenges that include: fertility preservation in endometrial cancer, management of endometriosis, counselling in contraceptive choice, infections during pregnancy with particular reference to HIV, the risk of stillbirth, innovations in medical abortion, hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, environmental health and reproductive health and proper obstetrical care for disadvantaged women, etc. Moreover, some of the world’s leading experts in minimal access surgery enlightened attendees on the latest techniques and therapies, such as modern high definition optics, computer controlled robots and intelligent energy devices to cut and seal blood vessels.

Highlighting some of the key features in the UAE context, Professor CN Purandare, President of FIGO, explained: “The UAE – although far more developed than low-resource countries – has its share of challenges when it comes to women’s health. For instance, as per news reports, the cesarean section rates in the UAE are at 42 percent, much higher than the global average, and increasing the risks of complications. Rising incidences of diabetes, obesity and PCOS – which affects approximately 50,000 women in the country – also cause problems during pregnancy and childbirth. This calls for medical and support staff that is equipped with the knowledge and expertise to address these challenges. Through this conference, we aim to educate our medical community, not just in the UAE, but globally”.


Attendees were also educated on ethical issues and healthcare risk management. Stressing that every effort should be made to save a patient’s life, the forum drew a distinction between negligence and high-risk, complicated procedures. Speakers also emphasized the severe impact of criminalization of doctors, and its negative effect on the healthcare industry and patients at large.

The Congress further addressed the critical lack of access to safe delivery services and surgeons capable of providing emergency caesarean. It highlighted FIGO’s Fistula Surgery Training Initiative that has so far trained 52 doctors to treat childbirth injuries in 19 African and Asian countries. Celebrating the fact that so far over 6,000 surgeries have been performed under the initiative, Chair of FIGO’s Fistula Committee, Professor Ajay Rane, said: “There is a global shortage of trained, skilled fistula surgeons, and a subsequent huge unmet need to treat and repair the backlog of women suffering from this condition. Longer-term solutions require ensuring well-functioning maternal health systems, including emergency obstetric care. But for the immediate future, it is absolutely essential that more surgeons are trained on fistula repair and more health facilities are able to provide holistic fistula treatment services, including rehabilitation and social assistance, to help affected women recover and re-build their lives”.

Commenting on the Congress Dr Awatif Juma Al Bahar, Medical Director, DGFC & Consultant Obs/Gyn & Endocrine Infertility, Dubai Health Authority and President, Emirates Medical Association said: “The FIGO Regional Congress is a part of Dubai’s medical tourism with the aim to attract many global conferences. We are well placed to accommodate even 10,000 attendees at conferences and have a very experienced team to work on such events. This is the first step in working with FIGO and now we are looking to bring the global congress in 2024 to Dubai. Furthermore, UAE is now undergoing tremendous and fast changes in the healthcare sector, and Dubai is aiming to be an international city in that area. Apart from that we are also focusing on woman and child healthcare and as part of that we are promoting the continuous medical education for doctors, medical and paramedical in the UAE and the region”.

Directed at obstetricians, gynecologists, midwives, nurses, general practitioners and other specialists working in the field of women’s health, policy and decision makers and patient groups amongst others, the conference is organized by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), together with the Emirates Medical Association (EMA), the Federation of Arab Gynecology and Obstetrics Societies (FAGOS) and the African Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (AFOG).

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