Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Canada, UAE collaborate in space exploration

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Canadian Business Council (CBC) Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with the Embassy of Canada in the UAE, organized a conversation with the UAE Space Agency (UAESA) Director General, Dr Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) President, Sylvain Laporte, at the St. Regis Saadiyat Island on March 20. The event brought together the delegates of the UAESA, CSA and Global Space Congress and members of CBC Abu Dhabi. 

Masud Husain, Ambassador of Canada to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), presented the welcome address in which he spoke at great length of the growing relationship between Canada and the UAE and their collaborative efforts in space exploration. 

Gregory Zoughbi, Chairman of CBC Abu Dhabi, welcomed and introduced the speakers, noting on CBC’s role in promoting business relations, commerce and investment between Canada and the UAE through its Communities of Interest (COI) initiative. 

Mustafa Alrawi, Assistant Editor-in-Chief of The National opened the discussion by how the investment in space will benefit different sectors such as energy, construction, education, media and others; and what opportunities it may have to offer to society.

It was a historic moment for the UAE when it launched its first Emirati-made satellite in 2018. Dr Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, shared how this vision came into reality because of the country’s dedicated leadership who foresaw the future of this nation as well as the region. 

The UAE’s space programme has various initiatives such as hosting the Global Space Congress and teaming up with different countries, such as Canada, with the same passion for space exploration. 

Sylvain Laporte, President of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), talked about the many lessons learned throughout this programme, mentioning a country could not do space exploration without international collaboration. 

The CSA chief expressed great appreciation of how the UAE’s Space Agency, within a short span of tim,e has been able to achieve great milestones.

The topic on Canada’s commitment to the Lunar Gateway by providing smart robotic system was also discussed wherein he explained how this system will work and how Canada has taken advantage of the technologies from the two Canadarms. 

The informative discussion concluded with the point that the UAE and Canada have driven inspiration for the youth to get involved in space initiatives as both the countries encouraged innovation, commercialization and diversity in space. 

The Canadian Business Council Abu Dhabi (CBC) promotes business relations, commerce and investment between Canada and the UAE with a particular focus on the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA), established in 1989, is responsible for coordinating all government-funded space activities in Canada and some of its more high-profile projects include its robotics, most famously the Canadarm and the Canadarm 2. 

The UAE Space Agency is a federal agency, created to take care of the space sector including all projects, activities and programmes related to outer space. 

It is focused on the development of policies, strategies and plans related to the space sector that are approved by the Council of Ministers.  
The Global Space Congress, hosted by the UAE Space Agency, is a strategic gathering of global space industry leaders. 

Promoting the worldwide industry of space, the Congress brings together over 600 key space agencies, commercial space, academia and end users of space services to evaluate the biggest opportunities in the space sector.

New evidence about post-miscarriage infection

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

New international guidelines on how to provide treatment for women having miscarriage surgery are needed after a large-scale international trial has provided new evidence.

The trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, involved thousands of women at hospitals across four low and middle income countries, including the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi and 12 other hospitals across Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda. 

The findings of the study show that administering antibiotics prior to miscarriage surgery had a possible benefit when pelvic infection was defined by global standards. 

“Before the trial we had no idea what the right thing was, to reduce the serious complication of pelvic infection. We finally now have the highest quality evidence that a single, cheap, preventative dose of two commonly available antibiotics was not only safe but also appeared to reduce pelvic infection if the infection was diagnosed using strict international criteria,” lead researcher Dr David Lissauer of the University of Birmingham, remarked. 

Infections following miscarriage surgery are more common in low and middle income countries like Pakistan versus higher resource countries.

“In Pakistan, access to resources to care for women who do develop complications after miscarriage surgery is poor. The findings of this study will lead to improved treatment outcomes for women,” Dr Rahat Qureshi, associate professor, department of obstetrics and gynaecology at AKU, and one of the authors of the study along with Dr Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, the founding director of AKU’s Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, stated. 

“Globally there are concerns about the irrational and widespread use of antibiotics which can fuel antibiotic resistance. 

This practice is rampant in Pakistan as well which is why quality processes within our health system must be initiated to prevent infections. In addition, a balanced use of antibiotics will improve practices and reduce the risks of emergence of resistant bacteria,” she added. 

Prior to this study, there were only four trials conducted on antibiotic use in women undergoing surgery for miscarriage. These trials were conducted at single centres, used different antibiotics and assessed different outcomes. This study, however, was a multi-country, multi-centre randomised trial, the findings of which will call for a reassessment of international guidelines on the use of antibiotics in miscarriage surgery. 

A miscarriage is the most common complication of early pregnancy, the loss of a baby before 20 weeks. However, sometimes not all the residual pregnancy tissue is dispelled through the womb after a miscarriage so often a surgery is required to remove it. Miscarriage surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures carried out around the world. 

The study’s findings have implications for global efforts to achieve targets under goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals which call for specific measures to reduce the maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births. 

The study was funded by Medical Research Council UK, Wellcome Trust and UK Aid, and led by researchers at the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, the Institute of Applied Health Research, and the Health Economics Unit at the University of Birmingham.