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Abu Dhabi: New foetal medicine centre to save babies, mothers in high-risk pregnancies March 21, 2022

The new centre has been launched in collaboration between the institute and the Fetal Medicine Department at Burjeel Medical City

Region’s first-of-its-kind foetal medicine and therapy centre has opened its doors in Abu Dhabi to improve the outcome of pregnancies and save the lives of more babies and mothers.

Professor Kypros Nicolaides, known as the ‘Father of Foetal Medicine,’ said that the Kypros Nicolaides Fetal Medicine and Therapy Center at Burjeel Medical City would provide high-quality care in the UAE and beyond.

“I aim to better the standard and quality of the foetal medicine care that people of the UAE receive,” Prof. Nicolaides told Khaleej Times during an interview.

Foetal medicine is a branch of medicine specialising in monitoring the health concerns of the mother and foetus prior to, during, and shortly after pregnancy, especially in high-risk cases. Care and therapy in this area include assessing foetal growth and wellbeing, identifying and diagnosing any abnormalities or complications, developing a treatment plan for them, and providing counselling and support for parents.

Prof Nicolaides leads the Fetal Medicine Research Institute at King’s College Hospital, London, and his pioneering work has advanced the UK’s standing as a global leader in women’s health.

The new centre has been launched in collaboration between the institute and the Fetal Medicine Department at Burjeel Medical City. This association is yet another example of the UAE’s ability to attract top global talents and offer world-class care to the community members.

“I have chosen to collaborate with Burjeel Medical City because it is a leading medical care provider. I have a long-standing association with Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, chairman and Managing Director of VPS Healthcare,” he said and noted that the centre will deal with all aspects of foetal medicine and foetal surgery.

“We will use modern technologies and innovative methods to provide the best care in the UAE. We continuously strive to improve the quality of care and find treatments for the many conditions that adversely harm mothers and babies.”

It is common for pregnant women in the region to travel to the West to seek care for complex foetal problems. Foetal surgery can be used to treat spina bifida, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and twin to twin transfusion to improve outcomes of babies.

The new centre is designed to meet the increasing requirement for foetal medicine and therapy.

“As gestational diabetes is one of the major medical complications in pregnancy, most of our research will focus on gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. The findings and outcomes of these research studies will impact our work at Burjeel Medical City and the UAE.”

The medical team at the centre will be led by Dr Mandeep Singh, medical director and consultant in maternal and foetal medicine of Burjeel Farha. He will work in collaboration with Prof Nicolaides in managing complex problems affecting babies and expectant mothers. Dr Singh is the former director of the Kypros Nicolaides Fetal Medicine Center at Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UK.

The centre will avail the services of experts from London’s King’s College Hospital.

Dr Vayalil said the centre's launch is a momentous occasion as it is the first-of-its-kind integrated facility in the region.

“This is a decisive step toward providing comprehensive foetal care to patients undergoing high-risk pregnancies in the UAE. The department will offer high-quality services to facilitate the best outcomes for both mother and baby during pregnancy, labour, delivery, and the post-partum period.”

Prof Nicolaides has revolutionised foetal medicine through his extensive research and medical practice achievements, from introducing intrauterine blood transfusions for foetal anaemia, to carrying out endoscopic laser surgery for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. He is a recipient of the Grand Cross of Makarios III – the highest civilian honour awarded by Cyprus.

He was elected to the US National Academy of Medicine in 2020, one of the highest honours in the fields of health and medicine, for his seminal contributions to the field of obstetrics.

Prof Nicolaides featured in ‘The Surgeon’s Cut’, a new documentary series on Netflix, profiling ground-breaking surgeons from around the world.

“I have five-year-olds and 30-year-olds visiting me saying I treated them before they were even born. I think that is the most satisfying feeling to have as a doctor,” added Prof. Nicolaides, who will be visiting the centre soon.

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