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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has announced the public launch of Project CODE, an international development effort designed to address three of the biggest challenges confronting the Middle East today: healthcare, food security and homeland security.

Project CODE has the goal of acquiring 500 companies in the coming years to bring many of the world’s leading technologies (and technologists) to KSA. The project is being headed up by Mr Ali Al Rakaf and Professor Newton Howard from the University of Oxford, who have been entrusted by the government of Saudi Arabia to spend over $1,000,000,000 USD in the coming years to establish a new class of partnership between industry and academia, combining the efforts of several American medical and high-tech companies with many of the top academic and research institutions on the planet, including MIT, Johns Hopkins, Paris INSERM, the University of Oxford, George Washington University, the University of Michigan and the University of Southern California. 

Although Saudi Arabia boasts the 19th highest GDP in the world, the country is presently an oil-based economy and seeks diversification. Project CODE will have a significant impact in this area, serving to grow the private sector while establishing the region as the leading source of advanced medical and technical services in the Arab world.

With respect to healthcare, destinations such as the United Arab Emirates have long-established partnerships with leading American and English hospitals to provide their citizens with the best medical care in the world.  However, these services are very expensive and so are only available to the wealthy.  For those unable to afford such healthcare, there are few options. Project CODE intends to develop a more scalable healthcare model, with doctors, medical device manufacturers and research experts actively working together to adapt and miniaturize state-of-the-art medical technologies to provide more affordable and accessible healthcare for all, regardless of economic class or location.

To accomplish this, Project CODE will invest into technologies with the greatest potential impact. Neurological diseases, for example, account for the fastest-growing segment of healthcare expense in the developed world, with conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, dementia and depression being among the most common.

Project CODE seeks to increase awareness about neurological disorders not only among doctors and caregivers, but also within the general population. The project plans to initiate a dementia awareness and prevention programme in KSA, which would be the very first programme of its kind within the Middle East. Using a novel and relatively inexpensive screening technology developed within the Oxford Computational Neuroscience lab at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences and manufactured by Brain Sciences, Inc (BSI), this prevention programme will provide caregivers with the latest technology to detect neurodegenerative symptoms, as early as possible, to improve treatment outcomes for patient and caregiver alike.

Read the full story on LinkedIn.

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