Chapter Spotlight: United Arab Emirates
The Emirati League against Epilepsy (ELAE) is a chapter of the International League against Epilepsy (ILAE) and is registered under the Emirates Neurological Society (EMA) and under the Emirates Neurological Society (EMINS). The chapter was first founded in 2005. However, the Executive Board has been in function since October 2011 and have managed to rebuild and shape the chapter to its current level. The objectives of the chapter, accomplishments, and its future plans are summarized below:
Specific Objectives of ELAE
- To ensure implementation of standards of epilepsy care and education in UAE
- To provide a nation-wide education and training to all healthcare providers in various aspects of epilepsy.
- To collaborate with the regional chapters of the CEMA in the areas of education and research
- To advance professional epilepsy care in UAE to internationally accepted standards
- To educate the general public in UAE about epilepsy and its management and to organize educational forums targeting patients and their caregivers
- To lobby with governmental agencies for comprehensive coverage of medical and surgical requirements of patients with epilepsy and to advocate setting driving regulations for patients suffering from epilepsy
- To organize congresses, forums and educational and research meetings as deemed necessary
- To attract local physicians interested in the neuroscience field to participate actively in all chapter's activities and to encourage meetings participation opportunities at local, regional and international levels.
- To promote research and surveys in the field of epilepsy and its related subjects
The past four years were years of hard work in several fronts aiming towards helping people who have epilepsy, and in generating resources to further the mission through organized activities and volunteering. They were years of remarkable developments and achievements.
- Three Annual congresses were held alternating between Dubai and Abu Dhabi; the last one was held in Dubai which has attracted 271 delegates from 18 countries. These figures speak for the high quality and widely recognized reputation that the ELAE Annual Congress has reached and, it surely, put our meetings marks on the world of epilepsy map. Faculty members grew year-on-year and became more international in ratio to UAE based faculty. Furthermore, several local faulty members are invited to regional and international congresses and they were asked to serve on several ILAE task force committees.
- Memberships: The membership of ILAE has increased since its establishment from 12 members to a total of 56 members representing different specialties in the neuroscience field. Furthermore, we have established an associate category under which, EEG technicians, social workers, and nursing staff can subscribe, with an objective to promote educational activities for all of them.
- Four scientific meetings are held each year. They were attended by more than 40 delegates. These meetings were very well received and had generated fruitful discussions. In addition, over the past two years we have started a series of topics to tackle various social issues that impact the lives of patients with epilepsy.
- Epilepsy public awareness days took place each year taking several formats and forums. They attended by patients and families with epilepsy. ELAE booth has made Educational materials available to the public and brochures about the disorder were distributed in both local and English languages. Furthermore, several radio talk shows and TV interviews were held in that week to further enhance the mission of increasing the awareness and understanding of this disorder.
- ELAE has started ILAE reachout programs to educate the health care providers about this disorder, diagnostic challenges and update them on various treatment modalities. The last program was held in Fujairah and was very well attended by more than 60 health care providers. The feedback of this activity was extremely positive
- Publications: We have started to tackle several areas of interest to a neurologist everyday practice such as driving, discontinuation of AEDs, psychogenic seizures, and neuropsychiatric issues in patients with epilepsy. Several members of the Board and the chapter have managed to put these into review and position statement published papers. Furthermore, we are all exited to learn that our paper on driving and epilepsy will be presented at the next AES meeting in Seattle.
- The preparation for our Fourth Annual Epilepsy Congress is underway with an ambitious plan to host more delegates both locally and regionally. We also aim to joint our efforts with regional societies, as we successfully did in the past year, with the First Joint Emirati-Saudi Congress. We hope to continue to attract renowned international and regional speakers to speak at the congress
- A task force for the Epilepsy purple day 2015 is planning a week long activities aiming to increase the public awareness about the disease through media forums, and other interactive open public sessions
- Reach out programs will continue with a plan to reach out to other Emirates and regions throughout the year
- Scientific chapter meetings will use other formats in addition to didactic lectures and prepare challenging case studies, Journal club materials, and EEGs cases
- We aim to work on enhancing the epilepsy support group activities in collaboration with our colleagues in the contributing hospitals
Executive Committee of the ELAE
The Executive Board is composed of:
- Dr. Taoufik Alsaadi, President
- Dr. Khaled Zamel, Vice president
- Dr. Tania Tayah, Treasurer
- Dr. A. Rajarathinam, Secretary
- Dr. Shareefa Abdool, Member
- Dr. Iyad Khoudier, Member
- Dr. Waseem Fathalla, Member
- Dr. Jihad Inshasi, Past president
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