DUBAI // The first dedicated paediatric hospital in the country is set for completion by 2013, the Dubai Health Authority announced yesterday.
Construction for the Al Jalila Children's Specialty Hospital will begin in the first week of November, and the project is slated for completion in 26 months.
Named after the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, the hospital will offer a wide range of treatments for children up to 16 years old.
The public hospital will contain 200 beds, 40 of which will be in intensive care units; six dialysis facilities; 20 healing centres; 12 training rooms; eight operating theatres and 30 departments.
Sheikh Mohammed mandated the establishment of the hospital on December 3, 2008, his daughter's first birthday and a day after National Day, to provide quality paediatric care.
Although the foundations were laid in 2009 and the project was expected to be finished by last year, organisers said the development was meant to be completed in two phases. The first involved finding contractors and architects, which required a long tender period. The second phase, which was launched yesterday, will be the construction of the hospital.
Some of the specialities will cover the treatment of kidney diseases and tumours as well as cardiac and neonatal care.
"Reports and studies by the World Health Organization indicate that many health complications in children can be avoided if disease conditions such as diabetes, obesity and arthritis are diagnosed at an early stage," said Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, the director-general of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
"These reports also reveal that children suffering from health complications during an early age tend to suffer from the same complications throughout their adult life."
The total area for the Dh673 million project, which shares space with Al Wasl Hospital, is 76,500 square metres. The hospital will span 55,000 square metres.
Much of the total area will be dedicated to gardens and landscaping, including a "healing garden" that will contain bright, flowering and medicinal plants.
The architecture was designed with consideration of the therapeutic benefits that the surroundings could have on children, said Giulio Altieri, an architect at Studio Altieri SpA, the building's designer.
"This has been supported by many architectural principles," he said. "The hospital has a functional horizontal layout, and this is integrated in all aspects inside and outside the hospital."
A glass atrium in the lobby will allow sunlight to add to the hospital's ambience. The use of natural light and greenery aim to reduce noise and offer a high level of indoor air quality, allowing children to feel at ease while remaining eco-friendly.
The use of a wall facade will help to reduce ambient temperature, rooftop gardens will offer greater insulation, and recycled water will be used for irrigation purposes.
Mr Al Murooshid said the DHA would be teaming up with well-known medical institutions to ensure that the hospital was equipped with qualified staff, especially as some child healthcare specialities were introduced for the first time.
He said Dubai needed 6,000 hospital beds, but fewer than 5,000 were available.
Contributions by the private sector were helping the DHA meet this demand, with two private hospitals expected to open in the coming year.
Private hospitals cater to more than half of the outpatients in the emirate.
While DHA public hospitals still attend to a majority of inpatient services, Mr Al Murooshid said, the authority was hopeful that the private hospitals could reach a 50 per cent inpatient coverage rate in the next two years.