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Why is the UAE healthcare sector growing, and what does it mean for you?

Why is the UAE healthcare sector growing, and what does it mean for you?

Why is the UAE healthcare sector growing

The healthcare sector in the United Arab Emirates is one of the most rapidly evolving in the region, with the highest number of JCI accredited hospitals in the Middle East.

By the end of 2020, there were 162 hospitals in the UAE, with this number continuing to grow.

In Dubai, there has been a 61% increase in the number of licensed medical practitioners and a 45% growth in private medical facilities from 2017 to 2022.

What is driving this growth and what does this mean for highly skilled doctors looking for new opportunities?

Growing population and economy

The UAE’s diversified economy has proven to be resilient. Following the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE’s population and  GDP are growing. This is driving investment in healthcare infrastructure, capacity and access to specialised care.

Vision and Leadership

The remarkable development in the UAE’s healthcare system stems from the government’s vision and strategic planning to offer access to high-quality medical services on par with international standards for all citizens and residents. This vision has received backing from both the public and private sectors through investments.

Mandatory health insurance

The government mandates medical insurance for all residents in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with this requirement extending to other emirates in the UAE from 2023. Emirati citizens receive health insurance coverage from the government, while employers must provide coverage for their expat employees.

Prevalence of chronic diseases

As in other parts of the world, the prevalence of chronic and lifestyle-related diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, is increasing. Despite efforts to promote prevention and healthier lifestyles, this trend is set to lead to increased demand for health services for the foreseeable future.

Medical tourism

The UAE is establishing itself as a popular destination for patients seeking high-quality, accessible medical care. The Medical Tourism Index 2020–21 ranked Dubai as the top destination in the Middle East and 6th globally, with Abu Dhabi also in 9th place. Portals like Dubai Health Experience (DXH) gather quality healthcare providers and facilitators to enhance the medical tourism experience.

Digital innovation for health

Digital innovation is the key driver of growth in the UAE’s healthcare sector. Various initiatives demonstrate this, including virtual care platforms, robotic-assisted surgeries, 3D printing, Artificial Intelligence, Genome Sequencing, and Precision Medicine.

Medical education and research

There has been significant investment to expand medical education and training, with a growing number of medical colleges and nursing schools. Collaborative partnerships with both public and private organisations are advancing medical and specialist training. The UAE provides a supportive environment for research and is fast becoming a regional hub for conferences and events. The establishment of the new Dubai Academic Health  Corporation is part of a broader strategy to advance research.

What does the growth of the UAE healthcare sector mean for you?

There are opportunities within the dynamic and growing UAE healthcare sector for doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals with the right qualifications, skills and experience, with some specialities particularly in demand. Western-trained doctors, especially those with advanced fellowships post-specialization, are sought after to bring new skills and techniques to the region. This is the reason that the UAE healthcare sector is growing.

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