SHARJAH // A Dh12 million (US$3.2m) gastroenterology unit will be built at Kuwait Hospital in Sharjah to act as a referral centre for the northern Emirates, the Minister of Health said yesterday. Humaid Mohammed al Qutami also announced that the hospital's emergency unit, the busiest in the country, would be expanded to meet growing demand. "I see Kuwait Hospital is doing very well and we will work together to make modifications wherever it's necessary, especially for the emergency department," he said during his annual official visit to the emirate.
Dr Ahmed Hussein al Zarouni, the director of Kuwait Hospital, said Sharjah did not have the capacity to deal with the high rate of emergencies. The hospital's emergency unit is the larger of the two major centres in the emirate. "Last year, we had an average of 220 emergency cases every day," he said. "This year, the average emergency cases rose to 300 and, shockingly, last week went up to as much as 370 cases on a daily basis."
The gastroenterology unit would have the most up-to-date equipment and facilities and increase the capacity of the hospital's current gastroenterology department to 2,000 beds from 750, Dr Zarouni said. Dr Yousuf Mohammed al Serkal, a specialist in gastroenterology at the hospital, said the new centre would treat colitis and Crohn's disease, and also carry out trials of novel therapies and research into the causes of inflammatory bowel disease, as well as into the management of coeliac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, nutritional support and intestinal failure, cancer, auto-immune liver disease and viral hepatitis.
"Great emphasis will be on multi-disciplinary care, with close co-operation between medical gastroenterology, the colorectal and upper gastrointestinal surgeons, gastrointestinal pathology and radiology," he said. The number of new staff needed would be revealed soon, Dr Serkal said, adding that it would include specialist nurses, gastroenterology dieticians and a gastroenterology pharmacist. The hospital had invited a consultancy firm to make an expansion study on the emergency unit and had sent the proposal to the Ministry of Health, said Dr Zarouni.
The unit has eight cubicles and three folding beds, but he said these were not enough to meet present needs. "In the new proposal, the emergency centre would have 20 cubicles and six folding beds," he said. "We have also made a better design to the future emergency department." @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org