Dubai’s health care industry will see a quantum leap in the next few years, following the adoption of a strategic plan for the years 2013–2025 by Dubai Health Authority, according to Essa Al Maidoor, Director General of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
Al Maidoor said the strategic plan will translate the long-term vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which sees Dubai as a popular destination for medical tourism in the Gulf and the Middle East.
Maidoor clearly has one eye on the horizon on which looms the UAE bid to host the World Expo 2020 here in Dubai.
“Dubai has all the components needed to host the World Expo 2020 here in the UAE.
“From the point of view of health services, expansion and addition of services in already in the pipeline and is based on the Dubai Health Strategy 2013 to 2025,” Maidoor told Emirates 24|7 in an exclusive interview.
He adds that by 2020, several of the Emirate’s healthcare projects will be completed adding to the existing network of hospitals and health centres in the emirate.
3 new hospitals and 40 new healthcare centres
Dubai plans to build three major hospitals by the year 2025, namely, Mohammed bin Rashid Hospital located on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, Al Maktoum Hospital in the area of Al Maktoum Airport in Jebel Ali and Al Khawaneej Hospital.
Maidoor added the plan also includes the construction of 40 health care centres including primary health centres operating around the clock to keep up with rising demand resulting from Dubai's urban growth.
He said over the last few years, Dubai has witnessed growth in the health sector.
The number of hospitals in Dubai have increased from 22 in 2008 to 28 in 2012, a growth of 27 per cent.
Healthcare centres have increased from 1,075 to 1,608 during the same period, a growth of 49 per cent.
The number of hospital beds have grown from 3,155 in 2008 to 3,857 in 2012, a rise of 22 per cent while the number of general practitioners has gone up 35 per cent from 4,145 to 5,618 during the same period.
Number of nurses has increased from 8,379 to 11,238 during the same period. The number of outpatients increased from 4,936,818 patients in 2008 to 7,880,104 in 2012, showing growth of 29 per cent.
He also said there are plans to build six specialised centres at Rashid Hospital: one for the heart, one for cancer, one for cosmetic surgery, a centre for day surgery, a diagnostic centre and a centre for treating kidney problems. The diagnostic centre will be electronically linked to 5,000 such centres around the world, he added.
New Rashid Hospital
Maidoor said that the new Rashid Hospital to be built by DHA will have three towers with a capacity of 300 beds per tower. The sixth and seventh floors of the towers will be reserved for VIPs. 160 beds will be added to the building handling accident cases, he added.
He also said investment in Dubai’s healthcare industry had grown considerably, thanks mainly to the facilities provided by the government. Also, the number of health care facilities is increasing in keeping with the emirate’s growing population.
The number of hospitals in Dubai has grown from 22 in 2008 to 28 in 2012, a growth of 27 per cent. Health care centres had increased from 1,075 to 1,608 during the same period, a growth of 49 per cent.
The number of hospital beds had grown from 3,155 in 2008 to 3,857 in 2012, a rise of 22 per cent while the number of general practitioners had gone up 35 per cent from 4,145 to 5,618 during the same period.
Nurses working in health facilities jumped from 8,379 to 11,238 during the same period. The number of outpatients increased from 4,936,818 patients in 2008 to 7,880,104 in 2012, showing growth of 29 per cent.
50 medical conferences
He said the DHA and its partners are hosting more than 50 medical conferences annually which draw thousands of participants from around the world. Dubai hosted an international dental conference for the first time in the region in October 2007.
Dubai became the first Arab city to host the World Conference for Hospitals in 2011. Dubai played host to the World Diabetes Congress in 2011 after competing with Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne.
He stressed that the choice of Dubai to host international events was a natural result of the leading role played by the UAE in general and Dubai in particular in international forums.
Dubai’s good infrastructure and tourism potential has helped to consolidate its position as the leader in conferences and exhibitions in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, he added.
“The wise policies of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid have also made the emirate a world centre of tourism, trade and finance,” he added.