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Capital to host eye doctors' conference

Abu Dhabi has been chosen to host the World Ophthalmology Congress, one of the oldest and most respected medical conferences.

ABU DHABI // The capital has been chosen to host the World Ophthalmology Congress (WOC), one of the oldest and most respected medical conferences. The congress is expected to attract 13,000 delegates to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) when it is held in 2012. It is a coup for both the medical and tourism industries that Abu Dhabi has been chosen as the first host city in the Middle East, officials said.

"Worldwide, this congress is considered one of the most important events in the medical tourism industry," said Paul Vincent, the marketing director for Adnec. "To have it here is an honour. It will bring phenomenal publicity and awareness about Abu Dhabi." The congress will have the secondary effect of attracting ophthalmologists to the UAE, which suffers from a shortage of eye doctors, said Zaid al Siksek, the chief executive officer of the Health Authority - Abu Dhabi.

"There is a gap in the level and diversity in ophthalmologists needed in our community," he said. "We need to grow, expand and become more sophisticated." The conference is expected to have the same effect in the wider Middle East and Africa, also experiencing a lack of qualified eye doctors. jgerson@thenational.ae

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