Date: May 23, 2023
The Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat) and the American Mission Hospital organized a symposium for experts titled ‘Awareness of Genetic Disorders: Coping and Prevention Methods’, held at the King Hamad American Mission Hospital in Aali on Tuesday 23 May 2023.
In his opening speech, Dr. George Cheriyan, AMH Corporate CEO and CMO, stressed the importance of cooperation between the medical sector and research community to identify the best means for enhancing public health, guided by advanced global experiences and best practices.
Dr. Cheriyan also acknowledged Derasat Center’s pioneering role in raising issues of interest to society, and medical issues in particular, to increase knowledge exchange and societal awareness, besides addressing challenges, among which are genetic disorders and their prevention methods. He affirmed that AMH’s 120-year historic legacy since 1903 reflects its continuous efforts to support social responsibility, and expanding its partnerships based on the Kingdom of Bahrain’s formidable achievements and pioneering status in healthcare.
Derasat Executive Director Dr. Hamad Ebrahim Al-Abdulla mentioned in his opening speech that Derasat Center is keen on integrating its efforts with various divisions of the healthcare sector to address challenges, through its status as an experience hub for studies, research, and surveys. He expressed his hope that this symposium would highlight vital issues for the betterment of society, affirming that Derasat’s efforts aim to initiate cooperation channels with various local and international establishments, through joint events and providing dialog platforms to host experts from far and wide, to utilize scientific research in dealing with various issues.
The symposium discussed genetic disorders and prevention methods, with means to alleviate their burdensome effects on individuals and society, focusing mainly on the Down, Marfan, and Klinefelter syndromes. Three main sessions comprised the event. Session 1 described the most commonly known genetic disorders, while session 2 examined fertility and childbearing challenges to affected individuals, and session 3 highlighted the role of psychological care of affected individuals and their loved ones.
Results of a Derasat survey on genetic disorders were announced, revealing that half of the thousand-plus specimen were aware of the symptoms of Down syndrome, while a fraction knew some symptoms of the Marfan and Klinefelter syndromes. Around 6 percent identified a few Marfan symptoms, including excessive height, a frail build, long finger tips, and heart and eyesight complications. Another 5 percent were able to list Klinefelter symptoms, like muscular atrophy, osteoporosis, and infertility.
A majority of the survey participants demonstrated knowledge of the possible identification of Down syndrome during prenatal screening.
A recently published study was announced in the symposium, titled ‘The Importance of Raising Awareness Regarding Genetic Disorders: Down, Marfan, and Klinefelter Syndromes Model’, by Dr. Nadia Diyab.
Participants approved several recommendations, key among them were the inclusion of genetic screening within prenatal check-ups, utilizing the crucial role of media to inform the public of these disorders, and highlighting the need for psychological guidance to care for those affected and their loved ones.
Notably, this symposium is an inaugural event for numerous joint international activities and collaborations between Derasat and AMH, besides cooperating to document the beginnings of modern healthcare services in the Kingdom of Bahrain, in a joint publication based on AMH documents and archive.