CNME Editor Mark Forker speaks to Mubaraka Mubarak Ali Ibrahim, Director, IT Department at the Ministry of Health and Protection (MOHAP) to find out how technology specialist Computer Networks Systems revamped their entire IT infrastructure in preparation to effectively respond to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Can you outline to us in detail what role Computer Network Systems played in terms of helping the Ministry of Health & Prevention completely restructure its IT operations?

The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Health and Prevention had a vision to enhance community health by providing comprehensive, innovative, and fair healthcare services to international standards, and perform its role as a regulator and supervisor of the healthcare sector through a modern and integrated legislative health system.

We did this by outsourcing best-in-class technical expertise in service of our ongoing transformation story; adopting the latest technological developments – which in this case was the infrastructure and provision of 24×7 services and operations that are critical to be able provide modern health services.

MOHAP selected CNS Middle East to be our key technology partner in a bid to revamp the ministry’s entire IT infrastructure, including our 24×7 IT service desk, and IT operations. They played a critical role in enabling MOHAP to provide modern health services that meet the UAE government’s high expectations and are aligned with the country’s vision of the future.

Mubaraka Mubarak Ali Ibrahim, MOHAP

CNS Middle East has announced that the project was executed successfully and highlighted the role its technology partners Cisco and HP took in the delivery of the project. What was the most significant outcome of this program in terms of enhancing the IT infrastructure at the Ministry of Health & Prevention?

Our priority and scope, particularly for this project, which was to build a highly robust IT foundation to support all health services provided to UAE citizens and residents, was backed by a support level that guarantees service continuity toward patient satisfaction.

We thereby anticipate that this technology investment will improve public health outcomes for our constituents, which is interoperable with wider a government strategy and upholds the nation’s vision of the future.

We acknowledge the increased value of a central contractor’s integration of diverse partners. Cisco, Fortinet, HPE, BMC, VMWare, and Manage Engine were the main technology partners CNS Middle East brought together to provide the hardware and software solution MOHAP needed.

CNS Middle East delivered on the main objectives of this project by building an IT foundation that is backed up by 24×7 service delivery and technical support to guarantee service continuity and customer satisfaction.

Following the successful completion of this project, which has allowed you to establish a contact center and unify services. What will be the next step for the Ministry of Health & Prevention in terms of its IT strategy going forward?

With a stronger backbone, more reliable connectivity, and refreshed outside interfaces, MOHAP intends to deliver comprehensive and integrated health care that exceeds expectations for a happy community. By building further on our journey to convert 100% of our interactions to electronic touch-points, we’ll make public health governance accessible to anyone online, from anywhere, any time. Next on the horizon is leveraging this newly revamped infrastructure to deepen our application of artificial intelligence, telemedicine, wearable devices, and home-based care.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected supply chains, grounded flights, and severely disrupted the global economy. How are the Ministry of Health & Prevention using technology and IT to help curb the spread of the virus in the UAE to help protect its residents and citizens?

Having long been preparing for crisis response, our health workers on the frontlines and core administrative units were able to rapidly mobilize and efficiently scale up to deal with the surging demand for the broad care triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Having had the latest technologies already deployed, which included but was not limited to SDWAN, teleconferencing, VPN, IP telephony; and remote collaboration services that enabled all our personnel to work seamlessly from any location, including their homes, during and outside of work hours.

Beyond continuing to provide services from all our existing points of care, new hyperlocal operations can be quickly activated based on emergent need, and all our administrative staff are able to work seamlessly from any location including home 24×7.

Our medical staff are providing services from all our existing locations, plus we were able to create new service locations anywhere in UAE based on need within days.

Can you outline your primary roles and responsibilities as Director of Information Technology Department at Ministry of Health & Prevention? 

My primary mandate is to set the pace and direction of our technology-driven management capabilities to be in line with the demanding expectations of our government and to embrace creative thinking as a lifestyle to ensure readiness in an increasingly integrated health ecosystem.

Coordination and orchestration of talent and resources, championing the internal technological agenda, and extending our mission to external stakeholders from diverse sectors are all fundamental to the fulfillment of our promise.

What are your main goals for the remainder of 2020?

This year’s events to date have changed many plans, but our main drive remains resolute: We shall continue to accelerate our journey of digital readiness to serve our public need at a pace that exceeds the expectations of our leadership. We will ensure MOHAP’s vision for an effective and sustainable Healthcare System for a happy society is realized to make us the premier smart e-government in every facet.

Hatem Hariri, CNS

CNME Editor Mark Forker also spoke to Hatem Hariri, Managing Director at Computer Network Systems (CNS Middle East), to find out his perspective on the project and learn how they leveraged their expertise and industry knowhow to empower MOHAP to have the IT infrastructure that was capable of responding to a major emergency such as COVID-19.

How significant for CNS Middle East was being chosen as the principal technology partner to revamp the entire IT infrastructure at MOHAP?

Two of the values that drive MOHAP most are Innovation and Community Happiness. Since this is also in line with the UAE government strategy of digital innovation and readiness for the future, CNS Middle East already shares those same values.

CNS Middle East is backed by the Ghobash Group of Companies and over 33 years of history working with the government sector and health care providers in the region. We have long been trusted by our customers for delivering cutting edge technology that better serves their end-users to increase team productivity.

For this particular initiative, when we first engaged MOHAP, we based our conversations on a long history of enabling other significant enterprise customers to achieve their business objectives. We also decided the best approach to work with a government body with a function as important as providing healthcare service to the UAE public was as strategic partner.

This helped us define our engagement model with a proper strategy, not only to meet the basic requirements for this project, but also to join MOHAP along their digital transformation journey. Our approach was successful, and we were immensely proud to have been finally chosen by the ministry to take on their digital transformation journey and create a unified environment for their patients and facilities across multiple emirates.

This five-year contract scope with MOHAP is to have CNS Middle East their key technology partner and to revamp the ministry’s entire IT infrastructure, including 24×7 IT service desk, and IT managed services. CNS Middle East was able to provide MOHAP with the right technology solution to enable modern health services that meet the UAE government’s high expectations and are aligned with the country’s vision of the future.

Our ongoing task is also to maintain our global leadership in healthcare-related technology by supporting this infrastructure over five years with a full managed-services contract.

We’re amid an unprecedented global COVID-19 pandemic. How important was it for CNS Middle East to deliver this IT overhaul in time for MOHAP to respond to this crisis effectively?

After being awarded the project we considered ourselves a partner to the Ministry and took great pride in being a part of their team, so naturally we took it personally. The COVID situation drove us to amend our project delivery strategy to ensure we complete the project on time. Also, to prepare for these new conditions. We have engaged all our teams, expertise, and capacity to put them at the disposal of the Ministry and its leadership.

To support their strategy and tactics in responding to COVID we have 130 people working around the clock for MOHAP and on the ground to support every possible initiative or request that might be asked for. CNS Middle East will always put the customer first, and to further support MOHAP and our existing and new customers, our teams are trained to remain updated with the latest in technology to be able to provide that to our customers and partners.