Health care in UAE Dubai - Global Health Cover
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UAE - Dubai


 Dubai is counted as federal emirates number 7 within the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It was brought to being as the UAE was created back in 1971. Being an emirate under the UAE grouping, it’s legal, political, and economical landscape is under the strict governance of UAE, in the context of a federal framework. UAE is also fully in charge of all military matters here.

On the other end of the scale, Dubai enjoys autonomous control over issues pertaining to enforcement of civic law as well as the provision and maintenance of local facilities. However in recognition of Dubai being the financial powerhouse within UAE, it has been granted veto power over matters that are of national interests. One other reason to explain the veto it yields is perhaps the relation its leader has with the Al Maktoum dynasty. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is of course, the previous Prime Minister and Vice President of UAE.

In fact, it was the policies set by Al Maktoum during his time in office that made Dubai such a darling for investors. A number of free trade zones were created like the International Financial Centre, Maritime City, the Airport Free Zone, the Internet and Media Cities, and the Jebel Ali Free Zone. Major and substantial investments have flown into the emirates as a result, with promise a combination of tax-free and significant tax-break regime.

Dubai is currently home to about 2,262,000 residents (based on 2008). Almost all are city-dwellers. UAE nationals make up 17% of the entire population; the majorities (71%) of the residents are workers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, and some other Asian countries, with the balance 3% originated from the western world.

Residents in Dubai enjoy a fairly high life span; it is normal for females living up to 78 years in average while it is close to 73 years for their males counterparts. Recorded crude birth rate stands at 12.8% and infant mortality rate is just about 0.92 percent.

Chicken pox happens to be the most prominent infectious disease here with official figure showed that there were 3,472 cases in 2006. Viral Hepatitis B and Pulmonary Tuberculosis followed next (in that order) with 392 and 312 cases respectively on the same year. Due to its location that is associated with extreme hot weather, heat stroke is naturally prevalent here as well.

A Quick Glimpse into Dubai Health Care

Dubai enjoys a fine reputation internationally (even by western standard) on its healthcare providence.  A number of factors work into its favor: Spanking new hospitals equipped with modern facilities, strategic locations to encourage easy accessibility, good spread of patients to clinics/hospitals ratio, all these invariably makes Dubai the standard bearer as far as healthcare is concerned. It is noteworthy that Dubai does not make it compulsory for state or employer contribution towards any form of health protection scheme.

There is a public healthcare program managed by the Department of Health and Medical Services (DOHMS) in Dubai. The program makes it possible for UAE residents to access real low cost medical services, sometimes even free. There are also healthy competitions provided by private healthcare organizations. Majority are foreign owned, namely Pakistan, India, USA, Egypt and Europe. All health professional are to undergo tight scrutiny before they are allowed to practice in Dubai.

The Dubai emirates place importance on achieving high standards of over-all health of its people with focus on patient-specific treatment and care. There are a number of approaches by the authority towards that goal, some of them are:

·         vaccinations and immunizations,
education on health and nutrition,
medical fitness, psychiatric treatments,  
community services such as marriage and family counseling,
adult and infant yoga therapy,

The Dubai medical professionals stands out from the rest in that they are willing to conduct post-clinic private medical calls for all their patients. All, regardless of nationality and residency, are treated equally. A typical diagnostic visit to a clinic would cost around £40 when there is no other medical examination necessary. There is extra levy when it comes to post-clinic private consultations and a night-time call could set a patient back by over £70. The whole process is transparent and receipts would be issued, so that is helpful for subsequent insurance claim, if desire.

Dubai also hosts the Dubai Healthcare City, the biggest medical project ever in the UAE. It comprises a Medical Center, teaching hospital, the Harvard Medical School Dubai Center and the Boston University Institute of Dental Research and Education Dubai.

Private Medical Insurance in Dubai

Dubai does not make it obligatory for employers to have their employees covered. The onus is on foreign workers to make arrangement for their health insurance cover or they can approach DOHMS for a health card. Health card is honored on public hospitals but on emergency basis only.

At one point, as much as 3 quarters public hospitals’ facilities are taken up by expatriates. The emirates decided to bring to an end of free medical benefits for the said group in 2001, even though all services are still highly subsidized. By 2004, the policy would stipulate that only foreigners who are deemed for admission are accepted by public hospitals. Even if the discount applicable for hospital room stays but all other expenses are to be borne by the foreigners and without subsidies. The exception is that when a foreigner is faced with a life threatening situation, in which case, the emergency service is free.

In term of surgical procedures, public hospitals are still the standard bearers where comprehensiveness and variations are concerned. But since the emirates have decided to restrict foreigners’ access to public hospitals, patients who plan to use the insurance benefits have to go to private health institutions or else they will have to pay from their pockets.

Things to be Aware of

Unless visitors have been to cholera or yellow fever infected area in the last couple of weeks, no medical exam or medical certificate is necessary. In any case, it would be advisable that visitors stay at the pink of their health before getting to Dubai due to the extremely high cost of healthcare in Dubai, especially for expatriates and foreign workers.

Dubai is still taking steps to contain those infectious diseases identified earlier, but invariably, these would usually not affect expatriates or foreign workers. But foreigners face health dilemma of another sort, i.e. alcoholism, respiratory-related problems, heat stroke and sunburn, and potential dehydration. Alcoholism has been attributed to depressing condition working in Dubai. It is also believed that the sand and dust which are so common in the booming construction sites are thee main reasons behind the respiratory-related problems. Of course the hot sun and weather condition in Middle East has perpetuated the heat strokes and sunburn problems.

If you are faced with a health emergency, the best option is to ring the ambulance up, or if you still could manage, rush a taxi to the hospital. Make sure you have details such as hospital’s location and its contact number in order to get you to the nearest hospital at the shortest possible time while getting the staff there know about your impeding visit so they can make adequate preparation.

Dubai has strict rules concerning the sales of sleeping pills and anti-depressant drugs and they are almost sure not to be obtained from OTC drugstores. However, you are still able to get these if there are prescriptions to prove that you need them on medical needs. Just keep in mind that medicines generally don’t come cheap in Dubai. Make it a point to request for receipts for all medicines bought especially if you are on a medical plan that would reimburse you on your outpatient medicine expenses.

If you wish to have further information about the world health plan in UAE or a free quote, please contact one of our medical insurance advisors.

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