Roche to train lab technicians as it looks to grow in Gulf diagnostics market

Roche to train lab technicians in Dubai as it pushes for diagnostics market in the Gulf.

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The Swiss healthcare company Roche plans to train laboratory technicians in Jebel Ali as it pushes for a greater share of the diagnostics market in the Arabian Gulf.
The company will start training employees of its clients, which include hospitals, from next month. It expects to train 600 people in the first year.
"Getting the right staff is a challenge and our diagnostics equipment requires highly competent personnel to do troubleshooting and maintenance among other services," said Michael Heuer, Roche Diagnostics' president of Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, on the sidelines of the four-day Arab Health exhibition in Dubai.
"There is a shortage in [personnel] handling instrument," said Moritz Hartmann, the Middle East general manager at Roche Diagnostics. "In many areas we are bringing in fully automated machines that require new skills."
Last year Roche introduced training programmes for its staff of 300 in the Mena region, which includes offices in Dubai, Riyadh and Cairo.
At the Arab Health exhibition yesterday, Roche unveiled a blood screening device that integrates screening for HIV, Hepatitis B and West Nile virus, anaemia, diabetes and thalassemia.
The instrument, which was in development for five years, will be available worldwide from the third quarter.
The company, however, declined to give a price for the device.
It will be targeted at hospitals as well as the more than 200 blood banks in the Middle East.
The Zurich-listed company's pharmaceutical division accounted for 77 per cent of sales and diagnostics the remaining 23 per cent in 2012. The company is due to report its latest results on Thursday.
In 2012, the diagnostics division contributed 10.26 billion Swiss francs (Dh420.05bn) of its global sales, up 4 per cent from 9.73bn francs in the previous year.
The Arabian Gulf region contributes about 2.5 per cent of worldwide revenues to the division, said Mr Heuer.
Healthcare spending in the region has been rising for the past few years.
The Ministry of Health allocated Dh519 million for the purchase of medicines and medical equipment this year, the Arabic daily Al Ittihad reported this month.
The healthcare sector at the Jebel Ali free zone alone generated trade worth US$3.6bn in 2012, according to the free zone. Besides Roche, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Bayer and Sodexo also have their offices there.
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