The World Allergy Organization (WAO) has announced that it will host its inaugural international scientific conference at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) from December 5 to 8, 2010. The conference will bring together 60 internationally renowned experts to share their knowledge and experiences about the diagnosis and management of asthma and its comorbidities. Around 1,500 delegates from over 50 countries are expected to attend, while as many as 24 post graduate courses will be conducted during the event.
The Dubai Convention Bureau (DCB), Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Ministry of Health, Dubai Health Authority and Sheikh Hamdan Award for Medical Sciences are supporting the conference. Its collaborating partners include the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
WAO will launch during the conference the executive summary of its first-ever ‘White Book on Allergies,’ an advocacy document emphasizing asthma and allergic diseases as a major global public health issue, and providing high-level recommendations toward creating a more integrated and holistic approach to diagnosis and management of allergic diseases.
The White book is supported by WAO’s 84 member national and regional organizations, patient and GP organizations and dignitaries. The document will be distributed to governments, policy makers, health and environmental ministries, food and drug administrators, sports authorities, and patient organizations. WAO, in collaboration with its member societies, aim to establish implementation groups in each country to take charge of the recommendations to improve medical practices for the benefit of patients with allergies.
According to studies, the prevalence rate of asthma in the UAE is around 13.5 per cent, while it is more than 20 per cent in Saudi Arabia and 18 per cent in Kuwait.
Dr. Ruby Pawankar, WAO President-Elect and Conference Organizing Chair said: “WAO is working towards providing education and training to medical professionals to bridge the knowledge gap about asthma and allergies, whose prevalence rates have also been increasing in medium and low-income countries. The conference is an important strategic move and an integral part of our long-term commitment to address the diagnostics and management of asthma and its occurrence in the community.”
Prof. Lockey, President of WAO and Conference President added: “Attending this conference is mandatory for any physician who cares for asthma. Asthma co-morbidities are one of the main reasons many patients do not respond to optimal therapy. I look forward to seeing physicians, pediatricians, internists, general practitioners, researchers, clinicians and teachers at this one-of-a-kind conference.”
“About 300 million people across the world suffer from asthma, while about 250,000 worldwide die each year due to complications resulting from the disease; many of these deaths could have been prevented with appropriate diagnosis and optimal treatment. The increase in the prevalence of asthma and allergies is especially problematic in children, who bear the greatest burden of this rising trend. It is projected that the number of people with asthma could grow to as many as 400-450 million people worldwide by 2025,” said Pawankar.
Another study showed that the prevalence of comorbid asthma and allergic rhinitis (AR) in the UAE is 7.3 per cent and that patients with allergic rhinitis have a 3-fold increased risk of asthma compared to subjects without AR (23.8 and 7.5 per cent, respectively). It also showed that asthmatics with comorbid allergic rhinitis had greater severity of disease.
Dubai was selected for the inaugural conference given its strategic location and world-class infrastructure. In addition, the local medical fraternity and health authorities are also keen to benefit from global organizations like WAO.