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Weaving Sustainability Into Healthcare: Naam Jamshed, Head of Government Affairs and Policy EMEA - Emerging Markets, Johnson and Johnson Jamshed believes the adoption of value-based healthcare services will benefit the sustainability of multiple healthcare ecosystem stakeholders.

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Naam Jamshed, Head of Government Affairs and Policy EMEA - Emerging Markets, Johnson and Johnson

Working with governments and policymakers to advance sustainable healthcare systems has underscored a major part of Naam Jamshed's career, and in her current role as Head of Government Affairs and Policy EMEA - Emerging Markets at Johnson and Johnson (J&J), she has contributed to the shaping of future healthcare policies in the UAE. "My work echoes the J&J credo that underlines our responsibility to the communities in which we live and work," Jamshed says. "We live by it as we aim for people around the world to be healthier, supporting better access and care, better health, and education. My role within the J&J family of companies supports shaping healthcare and innovation policies across the region and driving strategic public-private partnerships."

As such, the latest iteration of Jamshed's efforts in this space has been through J&J's participation in the 2022 edition of the BE BOLD program. Launched in September 2022, BE BOLD is a first-of-its-kind federal initiative in the UAE, staged by the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), that aims to design the future of healthcare in an innovative and proactive way by building the capabilities of UAE talent. "As one of the leading players in the UAE's healthcare sector, we are honored to be part of this program and I am extremely proud to have one of my own team members as a talented participant in BE BOLD," Jamshed says. "The UAE is at the cutting-edge of healthcare, and mentoring young Emiratis about the opportunities that exist in this sector and getting them to talk about challenges, such as mental health, and the benefits of data and digital transformation in this sector have been an incredible experience. A program such as this provides a great opportunity for all stakeholders to come together and harness the talent that we have in this country to develop capabilities and knowledge within the healthcare ecosystem."

Now, a major goal of the BE BOLD 2022 program has been to find ways to encourage more collaborations between the public and private healthcare sectors. For Jamshed, working towards such a vision is something she's all too familiar with. "Public-private partnerships and collaborations are an essential part of our heritage and at J&J, we actively collaborate with governments and industry stakeholders to develop and deliver the healthcare needs of diverse populations worldwide to achieve our goal of making the disease a thing of the past," she elaborates. "Looking ahead, healthcare systems will be under ongoing pressure to increase the quality and efficiency of care, remaining focused on wellness and disease prevention. Health systems will need to become more integrated, addressing care needs across the continuum, while utilizing technology to enhance delivery."

Related: Healthcare, Redefined: Qatar-Based Avey Offers AI-Driven Self-Diagnostic Tool To Enable Access To Better Healthcare

Naam Jamshed during a BE BOLD 2022 panel discussion under the theme of "Digital Health: The Role Of Technology In The Healthcare Ecosystem Of Now And Tomorrow." Source: MOHAP/Entrepreneur Middle East

As an enterprise, J&J is no stranger to integrating technological innovations within healthcare. From using artificial intelligence and automation to make surgeries smarter, to adopting genomic sequencing and gene therapy, the company has constantly found ways to facilitate clinical trials and development of new medicines. "As a company, we bring to the table scale, know-how, and capability. Our strategic investments have a direct impact on healthcare outcomes, productivity and economic indicators," Jamshed says. "Innovative medicines have helped people around the world to live longer and healthier lives. They have benefited societies by getting people back to work, improving quality of life, preventing hospitalizations, reducing caregiver burden, and increasing the efficiency of the healthcare system."

When it comes to J&J's contribution within this space, Jamshed specifically highlights the work done by J&J MedTech Middle East. "J&J MedTech ME is leading the change by leveraging purposeful technology that may empower our healthcare partners to strive for better patient outcomes," Jamshed says. "As part of this, J&J MedTech recently announced the implementation of its surgical process institute platform, the first of its kind in the UAE. This is aimed at helping patients benefit from more standardized procedures that may reduce adverse events. The platform empowers surgical teams to design, apply, and analyze surgical workflows to reduce variability in surgery time, improve procedural efficiency, and enhance team education approaches. The real-time data provided unlocked plenty of opportunities for healthcare providers looking to effectively harness future digital health technologies, for which solid healthcare data analytics are a prerequisite."

But Jamshed is also quick to point out that with such advancements, come its own set of unique challenges as well. "As we strive to achieve sustainable healthcare systems, we are faced with challenges, such as driving care delivery efficiencies without compromising the quality and outcomes, preparing, and responding to public health challenges such as caring for an aging population with longer life expectancies, rising number of patients with chronic conditions and disruptions such as pandemics and large-scale health emergencies," she explains.  "At J&J, we believe in value-based healthcare that maximizes the quality of care and health outcomes to ensure that financial resources of healthcare systems are used efficiently, thus improving financial sustainability as well. We are, therefore, looking at value-based investments in healthcare, efficiencies in healthcare systems, digital transformation, and prevention as opportunities for the future, as we continue to invest, build capabilities, and drive policy change to help advance these critical areas."

And according to Jamshed, the adoption of value-based healthcare services will benefit the sustainability of multiple healthcare ecosystem stakeholders. "Since value-based healthcare focuses on improving health outcomes that matter to patients relative to the cost of delivering these outcomes, it can help decision-makers target investments more effectively," Jamshed says, "We believe that value-based healthcare creates headroom for innovation so that we can advance our medical practices and enhance healthcare outcomes. True value is created in patient, healthcare, and societal impact. This will lead to more resilient healthcare systems, improve patient access, as well as help bring innovative medicines to market and make us pandemic prepared."

Now, while the focus of the healthcare sector often lingers on treating physical health and diseases, Jamshed reminds everyone that J&J is equally attentive towards its work within mental health. "Last year, at UAE Mental Health Innovation Lab, we initiated projects to tackle the stigma of mental illness in the region," she says. "It's impossible to transform care without first raising awareness that those struggling deserve better treatment.Patients struggling with mental illness continue to face barriers in almost every aspect of their care, whether it's cultural stigma, or simply a lack of access to help. That's why Johnson & Johnson has committed significant investments to help advance an ambitious goal: to completely transform mental healthcare for all of humanity."

Naam Jamshed, Head of Government Affairs and Policy EMEA - Emerging Markets, Johnson and Johnson, Source: MOHAP/Entrepreneur Middle East

And in this stride towards ensuring better healthcare for all, Jamshed iterates how significant the role of women empowerment is. "Today, women comprise an estimated 70% of the 43 million healthcare workers around the world according to the World Health Organization," Jamshed says. "But despite our dominance in the workforce as doctors, nurses, or pharmacists, we are largely under-represented in the senior leadership roles. These gaps, which continue to widen, are driven by systemic stereotypes, discrimination, power imbalance, and privilege. In the UAE, it has been incredible to witness the advances of women and young female leaders, especially in the STEM fields. According to my personal observations, Emirati women are inspired to explore their unique talents and academic pursuits, and gender equality is of paramount importance for the leaders of this nation."

Jamshed, however, doesn't shy away from mentioning that much more still needs to be done, especially in the wider Middle East region. "Women are key catalysts for creating a healthier future and as leaders, we need to create meaningful roles for women in the industry, and support inclusion, equity, and the diversity agenda," she says. "At J&J, we are committed to building a diverse Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing and Design (WiSTEM2D) community. Through a multi-faceted effort, we meet girls and women at pivotal development stages in their lives. To date, we've reached over 6 million girls through long-term programming and Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing and Design (STEM2D) curriculum implementation, and by 2025, globally, we aspire to engage 2 million girls through short-term and employee led STEM2D programming and impact 15 million girls through long-term programming and curriculum development alongside our non-profit partners. For the UAE we, at J&J, have set a target to reach 2000 youth each year to contribute to our global footprint in WiSTEM2D."

But one mustn't assume that J&J's efforts in ensuring more female healthcare professionals is a sudden shift, says Jamshed. "J&J's first 14 employees included 8 women, and back in 1908 J&J hired its first female scientist in an era when less than 3% of women attended college," she recalls. "Our rich legacy in this area continues to motivate us as we shift attitudes and behaviors about the role of women as colleagues and leaders, adopting transformative policies that advance gender equality and close gender gaps in leadership and pay."

With a focus on female empowerment, and a vision to achieve the aforementioned value-based healthcare model, Jamshed now remains certain that such an approach can build a resilient healthcare system for all. "I believe we must work across the ecosystem and collaborate to maximize the quality of care and health outcomes relative to the expenditures, which is critical to ensuring that the system's financial resources are used efficiently and effectively," she says. "Ultimately, this will go a long way in building effective infrastructure and leading to sustainable healthcare systems."

Related: Four Reasons Why I Would Invest My Last Dollar In Healthcare Fintech

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East.

She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and was also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program.

Ahmed is particularly keen on writing stories involving people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.

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