Health in the United Arab Emirates
Standards of health care are considered to be generally high in the United Arab Emirates, resulting from increased government spending during strong economic years. According to the UAE government, total expenditures on health care from 1996 to 2003 were US$436 million. According to the World Health Organization, in 2004 total expenditures on health care constituted 2.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and the per capita expenditure for health care was US$497. Health care currently is free only for UAE citizens. UAE has seven Emirates.
Origins of health care in the UAE
The start of modern health care in the United Arab Emirates can be traced to the days when the area was known as the Trucial Coast. In 1943, a small healthcare centre was opened in the Al Ras area of Dubai. In 1951, under the patronage of Sheikh Saeed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, the first phase of the Al Maktoum Hospital was built and continued over succeeding years until a 157-bed hospital was completed. In 1960, Sheikhs Shakhbut and Zayed of Abu Dhabi visited an American mission in Muscat and were so impressed by what they saw that they invited the couple in charge, Pat and Marian Kennedy, to open a clinic in Al Ain, which they did in the November of that year. This became officially known as the Oasis Hospital, unofficially as the “Kennedy Hospital” to local people. In 1966, a small outpatient department opened in Abu Dhabi, followed a year later by the appointment of Dr Philip Horniblow with a brief to develop a national health service. This led the then ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed, to open a new hospital, the Central Hospital, in 1968. The Private sector has also made enormous contributions in the U.A.E led by the Gulf Medical University and the GMC Hospitals as the pioneers in private medical education and healthcare sectors.
Health care systems
The UAE now has 40 public hospitals, compared with only seven in 1970. The Ministry of Health is undertaking a multimillion-dollar program to expand health facilities and hospitals, medical centers, and a trauma center in the seven emirates. A state-of-the-art general hospital has opened in Abu Dhabi with a projected bed capacity of 143, a trauma unit, and the first home health care program in the UAE. To attract wealthy UAE nationals and expatriates who traditionally have traveled abroad for serious medical care, Dubai is developing Dubai Healthcare City, a hospital free zone that will offer international-standard advanced private health care and provide an academic medical training center; completion is scheduled for 2010.
Emirate of Abu Dhabi
Effective January 2006, all residents of Abu Dhabi are covered by a new comprehensive health insurance program ; costs will be shared between employers and employees. Prior to 2007, government owned health care facilities were managed by the General Authority for Health Services, GAHS. In 2007, this authority was restructured into:
- Health Authority – Abu Dhabi which is responsible for regulating the healthcare industry and developing Abu Dhabi’s health policy.
- Abu Dhabi health Services Company, SEHA is responsible for managing government owned healthcare facilities in Abu Dhabi. Currently, SEHA manages 57 Primary Health Care Centers, 13 Hospitals, 3 Maternal and Child Health Centers, 3 Specialized Dental Centers, one center for Autism, and 5 Specialized Facilities like rehab, blood bank and herbal center.
Emirate of Dubai
- Dubai Health Authority (DHA): for public and private healthcare facilities in the Emirate of Dubai
- Ministry of Health (MOH): for public and private healthcare facilities in the Emirates of Sharjah, Ajman and the rest of the north Emirates, also few public facilities in Dubai like Al Baraha Hospital and Al Amal Psychiatric Hospital.
As the world’s most advanced cities the health care services in UAE are up-to the mark. All the surveys are conducted under the supervision of Dubai Health Authority (DHA) which is empowered to set and implement the policies and strategies for health. A number of surveys have been conducted contributing in establishing comprehensive health promotion program and chalking out prevention and curative strategies. On 27th June 2010, The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and Dubai Statistics Centre (DSC) collaboratively completed first most comprehensive Dubai Household Health Survey (DHHS). The survey covering 5,000 households provided a unique and unprecedented assessment of issues concerning health. Among 5,000 households, there were 2500 UAE National Households, 25oo Expatriate and 700 individuals from labor camps with the purpose of finding out the detailed information on issues such as healthcare utilization, health status, health spending and treatment abroad. According to the Head of Research and Performance Management in DHA’s Health Policy Strategy sector Dr. Eldaw Abdalla Suliman, the collected data will be analyzed over 18 months that will help in identifying and addressing Dubai’s health care issues. The Primary Healthcare Services Sector (PHCSS) of Dubai Health Authority (DHA) started a health and Socio-economic survey intended to cover 3,000 families in beginning to understand health issues and risk factors affecting population of Dubai. A survey unveiled that 40% of school children in UAE are overweight and 15% are obese. The reasons attributed to these issues were growing trend among children to consume too much fast food and less physical activities. 30 minutes of exercise was suggested and led to initiating physical activities programs in schools of Dubai. A survey by DHA in 2012 covered about 5,000 residents, Emiratis and Expatriates revealed that education and chronic disease are the major factors in enhancing the risk of developing the mental and physical disabilities. Women reported more severe disability problems. According to the survey, there is a direct link between chronic disease and functional disabilities. The various factors taken into account were age, gender, nationality, income and other parameters. A survey initiated in 2012 by DHA with the intention of surveying all health care facilities in Dubai in order to setup Dubai Clinical Services Capacity Plan 2020 (DCSCP). From September 2nd to October 25th 2012, the Emirate’s first comprehensive survey of health care services was carried. The purpose of study was to identify the gaps in Dubai healthcare market and in planning future healthcare services in Dubai. A 2014 survey on 1,000 residents shows that unfit in UAE think they are healthy and reality is totally different. More than half the respondents are either overweight or obese and barely exercise. Inadequate sleeping habits, consumption of tobacco and smoking, carbonated beverages, increasing intake of junk food and lack of exercise is maximizing diabetes and hypertension. DHA has already warned people with heart diseases by considering hypertension a silent killer. A recent UAE mall study reveals that two thirds of women don’t exercise and one third are obese. The study on nearly 5,000 women consisted of questionnaire and tests identified the main indicators of health issues including smoking, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and cholesterol and body mass index. The collected data can be implemented by medical community in the Middle East for research efforts. In hair transplantation field, many advanced transitions can be observed. A wide array of surveys and research has resulted in less labor intensive hair transplantation methods. The Hair Cloning is another method being utilized for eliminating male pattern baldness which is the advanced form of traditional hair transplant method. Hair cloning also called Hair Multiplication is the technique in which reproduction and distribution of healthy hair follicles occur which leads to complete eradication of hair loss or baldness. Along with FUE, Gene therapy is being implemented in which genes in existing cells within the body are changed. This therapy yields consistent hair growth for life time by preventing the cells being damaged by DHT hormone. Further research and process of exploring new methods is under progress.
In 2009, 119 genetic disorders were identified among Emiratis and 241 among Arab citizens and expatriates combined in the UAE. This is the second-highest incidence of genetic disorders in the Arab world (after Oman). Autosomal recessive disorders are common in the UAE. Hemoglobinopathies are one of the most common disorders among the UAE nationals. Beta-thalassemia constitutes a major public health problem in the UAE. During 1989-2004, more than 850 patients have been registered at the Dubai Genetics and Thalassemia Center. Surveys have shown that the UAE exhibits one of the highest carrier frequencies of β-thalassemia in the Arabic Gulf region which is 8.5%. Pre-marital medical examinations in the UAE, excluding the HAAD, include blood group tests, sickle cell anaemia, hepatitis B and C, German measles, haemoglobin variance, HIV/AIDS, thalassaemia, and syphilis.
The Health Authority – Abu Dhabi introduced introduced premarital screening and counselling in 2011. 56,226 men and women preparing for marriage were tested for genetic and infectious disorders were tested between 2011 and the end of 2014. in 2014 16,247 people were tested, 342 were Beta-thalassaemia carriers, 8 had sickle-cell anaemia, 205 were sickle-cell anaemia carriers, 36 had syphilis and 140 had hepatitis B.
In 1985 the UAE established a national program to prevent transmission of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and to control its entry into the country. According to World Health Organization estimates, in 2002−3 fewer than 1,000 people in the UAE were living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS.
A health survey will cover 5,000 nationals as of March 2009. 
One out of every four citizens of the United Arab Emirates has diabetes, at a rate of roughly 20% for residents, 25% for Emirati nationals. UAE Ministerial Council declared 2009 "Anti-diabetes Year" on January 11, 2009.
2009 flu pandemic
- May 24: First case confirmed.
- June 25: 8th confirmed H1N1 case
- July 21: 110 H1N1 cases in the country, of which 30 originated within inside. The government has announced urgent steps to tackle the virus, including setting up thermal scanners at malls and giving companies the right to cancel residence visas of employees who contract it abroad.
- July 27: Community outbreaks confirmed in United Arab Emirates
- July 31: 110 cases.
- August 21: MoH announces UAE's first swine flu death.
- Ministry Of Health UAE
- Dubai Health Authority
- MoH Licensed Online medical directory
- Gulf Medical University
- GMC Hospitals
- Zulekha Hospital, (private)
- ”Our History – Dubai Health Authority”
- "Oasis Hospital History"
- Beshyah, Salem and Anas, "Central Hospital of Abu Dhabi: Forty Years of Service to the Community (1968-2008)"; Kazi, Nazir Mohammad, “Early Days of Health Service in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: A Personal Perspective”, Ibnosina Journal of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Vol. 5, no. 2 (2013), pp. 99–13 
- United Arab Emirates country profile. Library of Congress Federal Research Division (July 2007). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
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