Gulf News Online Edition   
 Dubai:Tuesday, April 24, 2001  

UAE 'needs advanced diagnostic imaging systems'
Abu Dhabi |By A Staff Reporter | 24-04-01
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Dr Saleh Ahmed Al Yafei
Now is the time to introduce advanced diagnostic imaging systems in the UAE, said Dr Saleh Ahmed Al Yafei, a UAE national who has just returned from Japan after earning his Ph.D. in nuclear medicine.

"Nuclear medicine is not new to the UAE, but many physicians are still unaware about PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System and teleradiology)," he said.

"There are 30 PET centres in Japan. PET is more advanced than MRI and CT scans and provides hi-resolution pictures with excellent sensitivity and specificity in diagnosis. It's time to introduce this technology in the UAE."

This young national stayed at a PET centre affiliated with Japan's Gunma University School of Medicine, where he earned his Ph.D. Al Yafei went there in 1995 on a student exchange programme - the "Japanese Research non-degree scholarship programme".

He was an employee of Al Jazira Hospital in Abu Dhabi at that time and took a leave of absence to go to Japan, accompanied by his family. Now he has returned with a mission: to promote PET technology in the UAE. "It would be better to undertake this through the Ministry of Health rather than a government hospital."

Al Yafei was not a stranger to foreign lands, having earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Louisville in the U.S. in 1991. "But the U.S. was different from Japan. They (the Japanese) are very sincere people and provided us with a host family who were very kind to us. The Japanese welcomed us by opening their research facilities for me.

"Their nuclear medicine department is well-known around the world," he said. "They have a lot of publications and pioneered many things in this field. They are as good or even better than most countries in this field."

Al Yafei hopes to use his knowledge for practical purposes. But his first love will continue to be research and he hopes to get back to academics. "I've already done nine research papers and I don't want to stop. My long-term plan will be to become a professor - in Al Ain University, perhaps."

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