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January 31, 2016

CHOP announces new partnership to help children in the Middle East

Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania will partner with VPS Healthcare, based in United Arab Emirates

Pediatrics CHOP
CHOP Exterior JVinocur/Wikimedia Commons

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)

Pack your bags for Dubai: the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is partnering with healthcare network VPS, based in the United Arab Emirates, to help improve pediatric care in the Middle East.

Consider it an international exchange of expertise. CHOP specialists will consult with VPS while it builds a new pediatric center in the UAE, and VPS doctors will fly to Philadelphia to observe the latest medical techniques first-hand. VPS patients, as well, can transfer to CHOP for specialized treatments.

"The UAE is in drastic need of establishing a systematic approach to broadening and improving pediatric care across a range of specialties," said Dr. Ali Obaid, CEO of VPS's hospital system in Abu Dhabi. 

VPS operates 16 hospitals across the Middle East, India and Europe. Conveniently, it already has a relationship with CHOP's parent network, the University of Pennsylvania Health System: the organizations announced a strategic partnership in November that will focus on issues related to the UAE's growing population and lifestyle-related ailments like diabetes.

The first step is to conduct a "gap analysis" of pediatric care in the region, pinpointing areas where training, technology or treatments can improve. In an interview with Philadelphia Magazine, CHOP CEO Madeline Bell said UAE facilities had "state-of-the-art equipment," but needed more doctors educated in the latest medical advances.

"We know generally that they need support on cancer, cardiac care and neurology, but the first phase is the assessment," she said

In a statement, VPS founder Shamsheer Vayalil declared that his organization is committed to raising medical care standards for "the people of the Middle East who need it most," including "those innocent victims of the continuing humanitarian crisis in other parts of the region.”

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