WEMA Health, a new digital health startup, launches in the UAE with the announcement of a seed investment of USD 3.5M, incubated under Europe’s largest digital health company, Dawn Health. Founded in March 2022, WEMA Health tackles the rising obesity pandemic in the region, where it’s reported that two in three people are overweight.
Co-developed with the world’s leading obesity scientists Prof. Filip K. Knop and Dr. Rita Nawar, the science-backed medical weight loss program offers a virtual-first, medicated, end-to-end obesity program that helps its members lose up to 20 per cent of their body weight by deploying in-house top specialists. WEMA Health connects its users with endocrine specialists on the state-of-the-art app, with a focus on diet, exercise and psycho-social support. WEMA Health also makes available to members the modern and clinically documented weight loss medicine, GLP-1, which is prescribed in tandem with professional and personalised cognitive behavioural coaching, so members are empowered to make lasting lifestyle changes.
Co-Founder and Head of MENA for WEMA Health, Leyla Azizova, explained: “Obesity affects approximately 20 million people in the GCC alone, impacting not only their health but also their overall quality of life. In the Middle East, it’s estimated to cost the healthcare system $30 billion every year. With the innovation that WEMA Health brings, we will be able to help people with obesity to a healthier and happier life”.
Principal Advisor of WEMA Health, Anders Dyhr Toft, continued: “Combining medicines, coaching and best-in-class digital solutions, can be very powerful in healthcare. Modern weight loss medication is highly suitable for a virtual prescription and lifestyle intervention, and at WEMA Health, we will strive to help our members achieve an unprecedented, sustained weight loss of up to 20 per cent. WEMA Health’s global launch will be initiated in Denmark and UAE, and then several European countries will follow”.
Dr Rita Nawar, WEMA Health Medical Director and leading UAE endocrinologist explained that, unlike popular belief, weight loss is not a matter of willpower, but a metabolic issue.
“Metabolic health involves not only the food we eat but also our energy and stress levels, emotional health and sleeping pattern. All these aspects play an important role and need to be taken care of when a person wants to lose weight,” she said.
Based on this belief, WEMA Health’s programme focuses on all aspects of metabolic health and aims to achieve a ‘metabolic reset’, enabling users to live healthier lives.
Prof. Filip K. Knop, MD PhD, a worldwide leading expert on obesity and Academic Supervisor of WEMA Health, added: “Our scientific understanding shows that obesity in the vast majority of cases is a chronic condition that requires medical treatment. Combining this treatment with fundamental lifestyle changes is what creates wholesome, sustainable, and meaningful solutions for patients”.