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Ola Björkman from Let ’em know has provided us with his impressions from Arab Health 2017.

Over 4,000 companies and 130,000 visitors from 160 countries gathered in Dubai this week – a crowded exhibition despite several halls with a total area equivalent to around ten football fields.

At first glance Arab Health seems to be about medtech exclusively but Arab Health trade fair is about so much more. Global giants like Siemens, Phillip, GE, Toshiba, Getinge and Elekta Group (Gold Sponsor) are indeed among platinum sponsors, but hospitals and clinics both in the MENA (Middle East / North Africa) region, in the US and in Europe exhibit too. Above all, Arab Health offers a medtech and healthcare showcase for the MENA region and a meeting place for developing partnerships and business opportunities in this growth region. The ambitions to invest in and develop health care are high. Exhibitors from around the world see the opportunities and they bring their latest technologies and innovations for display.

All sub-sectors within medtech (from basic equipment for medical, hospital beds and wheelchairs to advanced surgical instruments, imaging, diagnostic instruments and implants of various kinds) are represented in the exhibition. Also, private clinics and hospitals from e.g. USA but increasingly also from Europe offer their advanced care solutions to the wealthy population in the MENA region.

Arab Health Exhibition & Congress 2017 also included a conference area, or rather five parallel, theme-based conferences. This year, the five conferences comprised 3D medical imaging, Big Data, Healthcare Business Forum – Regulation and Licensing, Workforce Empowerment and Leaders in Healthcare. Notably, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, two particularly serious problem areas in the MENA region, were not covered since these areas will be part of the MedLan conference the week after Arab Health.

Nordics at Arab Health 2017

Virtually all countries in the world gather their small and medium companies in country branded, large pavilions. Swedish participation has gradually increased in recent years and this year, some 40 companies, including the Getinge Group, Elekta and Bactiguard with their own stands and the official Swedish pavilion were present. An additional Swedish (Nordic) pavilion, Anglo Nordic Pavilion gathered 16 of the 40 Swedish companies. According to the organizer of the Anglo Nordic Pavilion Paula Hassoon, senior consultant at Global Pharma Consulting, they wanted to offer a platform focusing especially on enabling networking and business opportunities. “Our companies are from across the life science spectrum and we even had some partner companies and organizations to offer additional value to our customers.”

Bactiguard is one of the Swedish companies exhibiting year by year on their own. “Above all, Arab Health is important to us for meeting and maintaining business relationships with existing distributors and to also expand our network in the MENA region. A standalone exhibition and consistent presence year by year creates confidence and good conditions for close interactions with our distributors,” says Christian Kinch, CEO of Bactiguard.

“For Nordic Life Sciences companies interested in entering or expanding in the MENA region, participation at Arab Health is often an important first step,” says Paula Hassoon. “But participation in itself is not enough. We wanted to test a new model where we in different ways can support our companies by providing visibility and share both our experience and our extensive network in the region. All the companies and my team in the organization have not had a dull moment, something that I see as proof that we are meeting our objectives.”

Finland was represented by both FIN PRO and Finland Care who both gathered Finnish companies in their respective pavilions. Finland Care displayed the countries expertise across several areas including health- and care services, rehabilitation, technologies and consulting & education. Taking control of the entire hospital hygiene chain was a theme. Among the companies in the FIN PRO exhibition were SE innovations showing their latest development, a communications eco system in the forefront for patients with dementia. Danish Health Tech Group organized Denmark’s pavilion gathered some 13 Danish companies across several sub-sectors of medtech under one roof.

More collaborations between Nordic stakeholders

To explore ways to collaboration more between stakeholders in the Nordic countries was the take home message at a Nordic Networking Reception one evening organized jointly between Danish Health Tech Group, Finpro and Global Pharma Consulting.

“Arab Health is such a large business fair and businesses from Denmark, Finland and Sweden could all benefit from more collaboration”, says Thomas Andersen, Head of Danish Health Tech Group. “In fact, the potential for more Nordic collaboration was underscored by all officials from the three countries including Ms. Pirkko Mattila, Finland’s Minister of Social Affairs and Health when they spoke at the networking event.”

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