x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Doctors should use us more often: geneticist

Many people who would benefit from a genetic consultation are not referred or even diagnosed, says a leading geneticist.

DUBAI // Many people who would benefit from a genetic consultation are not referred or even diagnosed, a leading geneticist said at an international conference yesterday.

"Genetic consultation can be an important and helpful source of information and support for families … but unfortunately many people who would benefit are not referred," said Dr Fatma Bastaki, a consultant paediatrician and clinical geneticist who is the head of paediatrics at Al Wasl Hospital in Dubai.

At the first UAE International Genetic Metabolic Conference, which opened yesterday in Dubai, Dr Bastaki gave participants tips on when to refer patients to a clinical geneticist who can provide a diagnosis, management, treatment, risk assessment and counselling services.

Family physicians, she said, may not always be able to make a definite diagnosis of genetic disease, but their role is critical in "appropriately referring patients to a geneticist."

In his opening speech, the Minister of Health Dr Hanif Hassan said the two-day conference would provide doctors and healthcare workers with the latest in the field, and also raise public awareness about the need to address rare genetic diseases.

"The UAE has been very keen to invest a lot of efforts to develop scientific plans in … the science of human genetics in particular," he said.

 

balqabbani@thenational.ae