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Dubai to Host the GCC’s First-Ever Menopause Summit

by Madaline Dunn

Dubai is set to host the GCC’s first-ever Menopause Summit on October 18 2024. The event is set to gather regional and international experts to spotlight perimenopause and menopause.

Held at the Museum of the Future, the Summit will convene clinicians, healthcare practitioners, legal, HR, and fitness experts, business leaders, facilitators, and advocates to share the latest data and expertise in the field across panel discussions, Q&As, and networking breakouts.

The event organisers shared that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are over 470 million people globally currently experiencing menopause. Twenty-five per cent of those individuals experience severe symptoms that significantly impact their daily lives.

“It is time to break the taboo,” commented Sharon James, a women’s wellness coach, menopause educator and co-founder of the Summit.

“For so many years, women have suffered this in silence and things are finally changing. This isn’t a Middle East or GCC problem, it’s something facing women globally and we hope that the more we talk about this, the more women feel heard and seen. Many women cannot function during this time, with sleepless nights and symptoms extending through their entire life, and they need somewhere to turn. We think this is the beginning of that turning point.”

Menopause affects everyone differently but can present challenging physical and psychological symptoms. James noted that the loneliness women go through during this time can be “as debilitating” as the physical symptoms and emphasised the importance of talking about it more openly, building community, and creating a safe space.

Education was also highlighted as essential. Indeed, a recent survey of 254 physicians from the Middle East showed that just 28.8 per cent correctly identified the diagnostic criteria of menopause.

Further, despite 66.2 per cent agreeing that training is critical, 43 per cent claimed to have only had occasional training on menopause, and 19 per cent admitted they had none.

Sophie Smith, Founder of Nabta Health and co-founder of the Summit, said: “Over 80% of women globally feel unprepared for the physical and emotional changes brought on by perimenopause. With the average woman spending over a third of her life post-menopause, it’s critical that we destigmatise this natural transition and provide proper education and support resources.”

Adding: “This event is a hugely positive signal to the healthcare system that menopause is an important issue, and women need to be heard. For both the medical profession and women in the community, having something like this to bring people together is a major turning point in making the menopause visible. It’s a very exciting event to be part of and be involved with something so potentially impactful.”

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