The first 'Teddy Bear Hospital' launches in the UAE, just for kids

The Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, MBRU has launched a Teddy Bear Hospital, a first of its kind in Dubai and the UAE.

The Teddy Bear Hospital is a programme designed to teach school children hands-on about medical procedures, and to decrease any preconceived fears of doctor visits. The programme will be run at MBRU’s Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Medical Simulation Center.

The Teddy Bear Hospital merely began as an idea submitted to Mohammed Bin Rashid Smart Majlis titled “Create a class in school to treat sick toys”. The idea was directed to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, KHDA, for review.

After studying the initial idea, KHDA directed it to MBRU in order to study its feasibility. MBRU’s Simulation team reengineered the initial idea and Teddy Bear Hospital came to life.   

Mahra Al Shehi, the six-year-old Emirati girl who was called “an Emirati angel and the queen of children" by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, attended the first session of Teddy Bear Hospital along with three other children aged 6 to 8 years old.

The Teddy Bear Hospital session kicked off with the children changing into their personalised scrubs provided by MBRU. Then they were led to the Simulation Center by the team and a number of MBRU medical students where they checked-in their teddy bears into the hospital. Upon admission they met with the doctors to discuss the bear’s medical situation.

The teddy bears underwent a CT scan, and were led into the surgery ward to get anesthetics before their operation.

The children awaited their teddy bear’s at the observation room where they were brought out with an intravenous, IV, drip and bandages. Upon completion of the medical procedures, the children were ready to go home, they met with the doctors to discuss the bear’s medical results and handed the children the image from the CT scan along with their medical report.

Helen Henderson, Lead Simulation Educator at MBRU said, “Teddy Bear Hospital creates a unique educational opportunity for children across the UAE. It’s a great initiative, and one of its kind in the country. The programme introduces children to the basics of healthcare through firsthand experiences where we aim to downplay the fear children experience when they go to hospitals.”

Nujood Al Khloofi, Director of Communications and External Relations at MBRU commented: "We have been working on this project for quite some time, and by all means it’s a great opportunity for children to learn about the medical field in a friendly environment. Whether the students are going to the nurse at school, or visiting a doctor, the children will have to be exposed to the medical field in some way, and that is where Teddy Bear Hospital comes in.”

The newly launched Teddy Bear Hospital programme is open for school children ages six to eight. Teddy Bear Hospital is offered on complimentary basis to all schools in the UAE, bookings must be done in advance to attend the sessions. The programme can host up to 20 students at a time, in which the students will later be divided in smaller groups of four to five. Upon completion, the children will also understand the basics of healthcare, how to properly wash their hands, the basics of CPR, and bandages.