No one can deny the quality of healthcare in the UAE is set at an impressive standard, in both public and private facilities. UAE is doing its best to implement innovative and impressive healthcare technology. Wealth accumulated from massive oil revenue is spent on healthcare facilities throughout the country while the government promotes the best medical practices and latest technology usage in all medical practices.
The UAE is leading other countries on the health index with a significant margin. However, the healthcare system is not by any means perfect and still faces several challenges. This includes the rising incidences of fatal diseases such as heart problems, cancer and congenital diseases that are rising as a result of consanguineous marriage, the prevalence of obesity and metabolic syndrome.
At the national level, healthcare tech innovations have surged during the last decade. Tech innovation is the top priority of The Rulers of the Emirates as they promote and support public-private partnerships, incentives and initiatives. This has resulted in UAE benefiting from a state-of-the-art healthcare system that is considered to be one of the best in the world.
However, one needs to consider that these facilities come at a cost, and are especially expensive if you are an ex-pat. UAE citizens are able to enjoy healthcare facilities at a low cost or, sometimes, even for free. In fact, surveys show that the usage of public hospitals in the United Arab Emirates by UAE citizens is limited to a mere 25%.
The other part of that usage can be attributed to ex-pats and tourists. Ex-pats make up the majority when it comes to the usage of private healthcare facilities.
WHAT’S THE UAE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM LIKE FOR EXPATS?
Expats are able to access facilities in both public and private healthcare systems in the UAE, but they must obtain a health card from the government. In addition to paying for services, this health card allows ex-pats to access any and all healthcare within the country. Health cards have a validity of one year and can be renewed online upon expiry. You can get a card by collecting a form from your nearest hospital and submitting the required documentation.
Luckily, overcrowded hospitals, mismanagement, and long wait times are rarely an issue in the UAE healthcare system. This is mainly due to population demographics and the number of hospitals in the UAE. However, despite this level of convenience which is not found in other healthcare systems, you will find numerous ex-pats going to other countries for specialized treatment mainly due to the cost.
HOW DOES THE INSURANCE SYSTEM WORK?
While costs for healthcare could be significantly high, having private insurance helps a lot in covering these costs. As per UAE law, companies are required to provide healthcare coverage to their employees, but that does not necessarily mean that insurance will extend to your entire family or that it will cover all types of treatments.
If you’ve been offered employment in a UAE company, be sure to consult with their HR on the insurance coverage that will be offered under the employment package. Such discussions are normal and form part of the recruitment process on more occasions than one would think. This is important as it will help you in determining whether you need any additional insurance to help cover the rest of your family or any other types of treatments and/or illnesses.
However, if you’re self-employed, then you might need to consider subscribing to an insurance policy as not doing so in UAE’s healthcare system would be irresponsible. One insurance provider to consider is “Now Health International”. Their most basic plan costs $26 per month and will cover most costs for in-patient and day-patient treatments.
They have a long list of coverage options to choose from and you might just find an option that works perfectly for you and your family.
If you want to learn more about the different insurance plans being offered in UAE, then visit https://www.now-health.com/en/countries-we-cover/united-arab-emirates/
The Electronic Health System
The UAE Ministry of Health (MoH) launched Wareed – an electronic healthcare information system in 2008. Wareed links all the MoH’s hospitals and clinics in Dubai and the Northern Emirates. It works as a centralized platform to record patient’s data helping physicians in getting quick access to medical history and other critical information of the patient.
Each patient has a unique ID and he/she can also access medical records and get an online consultation through it. Many advanced technological features are integrated into Wareed such as decision support systems for doctors that significantly reduce medical errors. Wareed also prevents prescription duplication and thus improves overall safety.
The Implementation Of Public Health Service
The largest of the seven emirates and the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi has implemented the Weqaya Programme. It is a public health service that screens all adult UAE nationals and enables the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD) to screen the population for epidemiological studies.
Through the Weqaya web portal, the citizens can also check their health status and get follow-up consultations if they are at risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has launched several health-related smartphone apps. Tummy Fish is one such app that encourages children to drink plenty of water. Smart Toothbrush app teaches children to brush their teeth correctly.
DHA has also developed smartphone apps for doctors providing them easy access to the Rashid Medical Library’s collection that includes e-journals, electronic books, pharmaceutical, and medical guidelines.
UAE has grown immensely in the past few decades from a country that was vastly a desert to one of the wonders of the world. Skyscrapers, exotic gardens, ski resorts, and mega construction projects have put UAE on the map.
This all was made possible by the large reserves of oil found here and the government has used that money to ensure that its citizens (local UAE born Arabs) are given all the necessities and luxuries of life along with the best infrastructure, healthcare, and education in order to build a brighter future.
But what about ex-pats and those who are not ‘locals’ of UAE? Different initiatives are being taken by UAE’s healthcare system that incorporates technological advancement to ensure that all its residents have medical options.
The government is playing an important role to overcome challenges faced by ex-pats who can’t afford the astronomical health care fees through affordable insurance policies that can be found at Now Health International.