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Hackathon in Dubai Tackles Climate Change and Healthcare Problems

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Dubai: Over 50 MBA students from 19 countries took part in the “first-ever climate and healthcare-focused hackathon” in Dubai on Tuesday to develop solutions to real-world problems. The five-hour hackathon saw students proposing several innovative ‘hacks’ like AI-based predictive analytics combining patient data with meteorological data and other historical data to inform capacity planning.

Another solution focused on a real-time carbon tracking dashboard using procurement and planning data to simulate the impact of a new project or policy. The hackathon, jointly organised by Asia School of Business (ASB), a collaboration between the MIT Sloan School of Management and Malaysia’s central bank (Bank Negara Malaysia), and VPS Healthcare, one of the leading integrated healthcare providers in the region with 24 operational hospitals and over 125 healthcare centres, resulted in several innovative solutions.

Problem-solving approach

Students also learned about Dubai’s healthcare industry through applying ‘Action Learning ‘problem-solving approaches and frameworks gained during their MBA to address a pressing real-world challenge faced by VPS Healthcare and healthcare groups all over the world – climate change.

The students, hailing from 19 different countries, had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the city of Dubai as part of a longer four-day Dubai visit that included visiting Expo 2020 Dubai and interactions with corporate partners to understand how Dubai has transformed itself from its reliance on oil, which used to account for 50 percent of GDP, into a global trade and tourism destination with over 95 percent of GDP coming from non-oil industries.

This includes healthcare and medical tourism, which has grown into one of Dubai’s top sectors, thanks to a rapidly growing urban population as well as a high influx of medical tourists who trust Dubai’s high-tech facilities to receive treatment.

Climate change and healthcare

Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, Founder and Chairman of VPS Healthcare, said: “We believe it will take collective effort globally to mitigate and address the climate risks we face today. There are unique challenges in the health care sector that needs to factor in challenges that will become increasingly hard to ignore, including increased fatalities and injuries due to extreme weather events and a rise in chronic health conditions like asthma, infectious diseases, and mental illness.

The partnership between VPS Healthcare and Asia School of Business represents our commitment towards addressing what experts are calling one of the greatest public health threats of our time.” At the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, 45 countries, including UAE, committed to transforming their health systems to be less carbon-emitting and more environmentally sustainable.

Sean Ferguason, Senior Associate Dean of the Asia School of Business said: “We’re extremely grateful to be able to partner with VPS Healthcare to address such an important challenge while providing our students with a rich, international learning experience, especially during these volatile pandemic times.”

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This article was originally published on Gulf News.