UAE gets ready for world's first hospital for astronauts
The world's first space hospital, Emirates Space Hospital, was announced by the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHP) at Arab Health 2018. This is one of the many ground-breaking projects announced by the ministry during the four-day event that began on Monday.
The hospital will be aligned to the UAE Centennial 2071 and the National Space Programme.
"The astronauts will be treated in space but all treatment will be controlled on earth using nanotechnology," said Dr Kulthoom Al Belooshi, director of hospital administration at the ministry.
She said the hospital is a great example of how telemedicine will work in future. "Telemedicine will not be confined to hospitals. It will reach space," she said while speaking to Khaleej Times.
Solutions and treatments for chronic diseases at the space hospital will keep pace with the latest developments in personal medicine so as to enable patients to manage their own therapeutic services and telemedicine. "All this will begin when the UAE will launch its Mars mission in 2020."
Thierry Karim Louesse, founder and CEO of Fractal Systems, who has been hired by the ministry to give a projection of how the Mars programme will work on earth, said the future healthcare in space has been simulated. "We have projected use of nanotechnology for treatment," he said.
Explaining how the technology will work, he said that surgeons will only have to inject nano-robots into the bloodstream.
"This will end the need for surgical intervention as the nano-robots will seek out the sick cells and repair them internally," he said.
The project will be tested on earth and will be used on Mars, he added. He also said that vital stats of astronauts will be obtained just by scanning them. Another technology that is being introduced for the future is Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, said that by harnessing the power of next-generation technologies, the government seeks to provide healthcare and surgical services remotely as well as round-the-clock smart medical solutions as per the country's strategic initiatives like UAE 2071, the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the National Space Science Programme.
He said the country's top priorities remain combating and preventing the spread of chronic and non-communicable diseases such as cancer.
Mohammed Salim Al Olama, undersecretary at the ministry said that new health services featured include diagnostic and treatment solutions for diabetes and cancer, stem cell diabetes treatment, a new smart device for cancer diagnosis, a new way to separate rare cancer cells using magnetic field, a new device for heart patients that sends emergency alerts when necessary among a range of other applications.
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Health beyond earth
Sky is the limit for men and women who have a vision and the will to succeed. The UAE might be a young player in space exploration, but it sure plans to catch up fast and awe-inspire the world with its preparations. Hopes to cure astronauts through telemedicine might sound a far fetched idea now, but could well be a reality way before 2071.