AIWF and Pfizer Middle East jointly launch ‘DEI by Design’ report and recommendations on embedding diversity into MENA health



The pandemic highlighted the invaluable contributions of women in the healthcare sector yet exacerbated inequalities for women in the region. ‘DEI by Design’ calls
private and public organizations to lift up women in the health sector, especially in representation, research, and conflict-resolution. The report was a result of collaborative virtual panel series with top medical practitioners and health science professionals from the region.

Pfizer and the Arab International Women Forum (AIWF) launched the ‘DEI by Design’ report containing insights and recommendations about how women’s leadership can impact the Middle East and North Africa’s health outcomes. The report was a result of collaborative virtual panel series with top medical practitioners and health science professionals from the region that discussed mentorship, hospital strategies, and diversity in clinical trials among other topics.

‘DEI by Design’ was launched at a media event event in Dubai on Tuesday 07 November, led by Haifa Al Kaylani, President and Founder of AIWF, Patrick Van Der Loo, Regional President for Middle East, Russia & Africa, Pfizer, and Parmjot Bains, Gulf Cluster Lead, Pfizer.

AIWF President & Founder Haifa Al Kaylani shared, “AIWF is delighted to share this very special report, the culmination of months of collaborative effort with our valued partners at Pfizer and with the women leaders in health who contributed to the series and to the rich discussions captured within our joint report with Pfizer. We believe that the recommendations delivered by the ‘DEI by Design’ series will pave the way for tangible change, ensuring that women at every level of healthcare – from grassroots workers to senior executive leadership – are empowered, recognised, and celebrated for their growing role at the forefront of health innovation, research and discovery. Together with Pfizer, we are proud to provide this roadmap to a future where women’s contributions to health are elevated and fully realised. We invite stakeholders across all sectors to delve into this report, be inspired by its findings, and join us in enacting meaningful change.”

Likewise, Pfizer Regional President Middle East, Russia and Africa (MERA) Patrick van der Loo also shared, “This report unearths critical recommendations to ensure that women and their insights are represented in the healthcare sector. At Pfizer, we believe in listening to every voice to create scientific breakthroughs for patients. Our partnership with AIWF is a great step in bringing together health experts and women on the ground to mobilize organizations and governments to embed diversity in the region’s health ecosystem.”

The COVID-19 pandemic underscored women’s vital role in healthcare leadership while exacerbating gender inequities. Despite challenges, it also highlighted opportunities to address the gender gap, especially as 90% of frontline health workers are women.

The report provides recommendations to lift up women in health. Among many solutions, the report highlights the importance of addressing acute health and mental health challenges for women in conflict-ridden countries and include their voices in decision-making processes to humanise medical provisions for refugees; investing in a robust homegrown research culture in the region; advocating for enhanced collaborationbetween health authorities, hospitals, and universities to establish organised frameworks for clinical trials in the MENA region.

For well over a decade, Pfizer has been a Platinum Corporate Partner of the Arab International Women’s Forum, a leading development organisation based in London with strong representation throughout the MENA region and especially the UAE and KSA where its Global Corporate Partners (PepsiCo, PwC and Pfizer) have their regional headquarters. After the global pandemic which spotlighted the invaluable contributions of women health practitioners and professionals AIWF and Pfizer are especially proud to have worked in close collaboration and in dialogue with all the stakeholders and speakers featured in this report.

the full Report here.

Download the Key Findings & Summary of Recommendations here.

Watch the ‘DEI by Design’ virtual panel series on AIWF’s YouTube channel: Session 1, Session 2, Session 3.

Contact the AIWF Press & Communications Team.