Dubai, UAE, 16 May, 2016: The 13th Annual Middle East Update in Otolaryngology Conference & Exhibition (ME-OTO), organized by Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions, is set to open its doors from the 24th-26th May at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre alongside the first ever World Congress on Cochlear Implants in Emerging Countries. With an expanding spectrum of key Ear, Neck and Throat (ENT) topics and industry trends, all set to feature on this year’s conference agenda, the events will attract the largest gathering of Otolaryngologists in the Middle East.


The Conference and Exhibition will host more than 70 leading companies in the field of ENT and Otolaryngology, showcasing the latest healthcare technology and innovations from across the world. The three-day conferences will host over 200 speakers addressing more than 2000 attendees on the latest developments in otology, audiology, rhinology, laryngology, head & neck surgery, skull base surgery, sleep medicine and speech therapy.


The first World Congress on Cochlear Implants in Emerging Countries will focus on the challenges and opportunities for improved access to cochlear implants in a bid to improve the quality of life for those suffering with hearing difficulties and other ENT related issues across the region.


A cochlear implant is an electronic medical device that does the work of damaged parts of the inner ear (cochlea) to provide sound signals to the brain. Each year, an estimated 3000 cochlear implant procedures are performed per year in the MENA region. Globally, there are 360 million people with disabling hearing loss, which continues to rise every year. Regionally, there is a high prevalence of hearing disabilities, with an estimated 1 in 25 people in the MENA region affected.


In an effort to combat the high prevalence and prevent undetected hearing problems, which can lead to speech development problems, the UAE Ministry of Health & Prevention (MoH) launched in 2014 a hearing disorder early screening program for new born babies. Babies diagnosed with a hearing disability are then referred to an ENT specialist who advises on the correct treatment such as a cochlear implant.


Speaking on the benefits of advancing technologies for patients with hearing impairments, Dr. Muuaz Tarabichi, ENT surgeon and Conference Co-Chairman said, “The Cochlear Implant is a life changing technology, which requires the existence of an enabling environment, teamwork and a sophisticated healthcare system in place to ensure the best results for patients with hearing impairments,” he said.


“This year’s congress comes in line with the UAE’s efforts to enable a highly advanced healthcare platform through education on advancing treatments and diagnosis tools, allowing for better care of children and adults with hearing impairments,” Dr. Tarabichi said.


Along with the main conference topics, the 2016 conference will have a special focus on the latest in Paediatric Otolaryngology; “Over 50 percent of the ENT patient population are actually children who are more likely to get ear, nose and throat infections than adults. As such, continuous progress on comprehensive and personalized care is required,” Dr. Tarabichi added.


Another special focus will be featured on the latest updates related to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV); HPV, also known as the silent epidemic, which is a leading cause of head and neck cancer cases, accounting for up to 90 percent of the Oropharyngeal cancer cases in some countries. Breakthroughs in robotic surgeries for treating HPV related Oropharyngeal cancer sufferers will be showcased during the three-day event.


“HPV related Oropharyngeal Carcinoma has become a worldwide epidemic with around 90 percent of cases of oropharyngeal cancers presently related to HPV in western countries,” added Dr. Gregory S. Weinstein, Head & Neck Surgery Director, University of Pennsylvania. “While the data is not yet available for the GCC, a recent study of patients in Northern India revealed approximately 30 percent of Oropharyngeal cancers are HPV related. My hope is that discussions generated at the Annual Middle East Otolaryngology Conference & Exhibition will spur clinical interest and research in the Middle East and surrounding regions.”


Speaking on the importance of the Conference, Simon Page, Managing Director, Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions said, “We are proud to host the largest meeting of Otolaryngologists in the Middle East that provides the ideal platform for the region's premier business, networking and knowledge sharing event for the ENT and Audiology world,” he said. “This year’s meeting is expected to be exceptional, especially with the additional track on cochlear implants in efforts to greatly improve access to this technology and mainstream best practices and optimal benchmarks.”


The six conference tracks at ME-OTO are CME accredited by the Cleveland Clinic. In addition, three ME-OTO awards will be presented on May 24th, to highly deserving players in the ENT industry in recognition of their contribution and excellence in the field: the “Karl Storz” Award for Excellence in Teaching, the “Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair” Award for Service to the Deaf, and the “Arab Health” Personal and Professional Achievement Award.


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