Renaissance of medicine in the Middle East needed

EMBARGO: 00:01H (London time) Friday March 24, 2006. In North America the embargo lifts at 18:30H ET Thursday March 23, 2006.

The Middle East is the most neglected health arena in the world today, states the lead editorial introducing this week's special issue of The Lancet focusing on the region.

Though the status of health and medicine in the Middle East today is often compromised by political unrest many laudable efforts, such as the elimination of certain infectious diseases, are underway. The Lancet hopes this week's issue will raise awareness of these positive initiatives, as well as the health challenges affecting the region. Radical change in local and international attitudes towards health in the Middle East is long overdue, states the editorial.

The Lancet comments: "Global interest in health can be used as a tool to depoliticise this troubled region and to forge partnerships without always looking through a prism of violence. Only then will current embryonic health initiatives serve as catalysts for the renaissance of medicine in the Middle East--a true and lasting benefit for all people in the region and beyond."

See also accompanying Comment on the Middle East special issue by Jane Borthwick, Senior Editor at The Lancet and Richard Horton, Editor of The Lancet.

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Contact: The Lancet press office T) +44 (0) 207 424 4949/4249 pressoffice@lancet.com


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