Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

With world-class hospitals, now is the time to innovate

Enhanced medical science research is the next step for a country renowned for quality

Achieving world-class healthcare is one of the goals of the UAE’s Vision 2021. Photo: Alamy
Achieving world-class healthcare is one of the goals of the UAE’s Vision 2021. Photo: Alamy

Planning for the future is what the UAE does best. In anticipation of a post-oil world, the Government has focused on several sectors that would ensure a sustainable and diversified economy. Health care has been at the heart of these efforts, with an emphasis on creating a world-class health-care system that would meet the needs for quality care in our nation, as well as cater to market demands from the region and beyond. Of the latter, we are, in particular, reminded of Eman Abd El Aty, who has undergone such a remarkable transformation with the help of doctors, nurses and other medical experts at Abu Dhabi’s Burjeel Hospital.

Achieving world-class health care is one of the goals of the UAE’s Vision 2021. Three years ago, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, laid out a strategy to improve health care in the emirate. Some of the fruit of that initiative is already evident. Indeed, we are already well ahead of many others in our part of the world and its periphery. We can take care of our citizens and residents to the highest of standards, while offering expertise to others from outside our country who might need and want it.

The capital alone already is home to several internationally acclaimed hospitals and specialty clinics, such as the Imperial London Diabetes Centre, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and Moorfields Eye Hospital Centre. These partnerships with international institutions, joined by our home-grown medical centres, such as Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, NMC Healthcare, Burjeel and many others, are available to heal the infirmities that our bodies are prone to.

But what is the next step? For there is invariably a next step. It is that we must ramp up our very own, locally researched medical solutions and cures. For that is where we transition from being a hub for the best available medical care to being a source of innovation in medical science. And with that comes an added premium for the economy, with all the spin-offs into many other areas of commerce that we expect from the knowledge-based industry. Our universities are already working on this. Indeed, it might be said that healthcare is the most strategic sector of future planning. It is elemental to our needs and it can be transformational for our economy.