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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 16 February 2019

Abu Dhabi in need of specialist paediatric hospital, say health experts

Although proposals have been submitted to cabinet, the capital is in dire need of a specialised hospital

Seha health officials have said the capital is in need of more specialised health care. Antonie Robertson  The National
Seha health officials have said the capital is in need of more specialised health care. Antonie Robertson  The National

Abu Dhabi is in need of a specialised paediatric hospital, heath officials have said, describing the capital as the area with the "largest need for improvement".

Speaking to The National, Abu Dhabi Health Services Company's (Seha) Dr Gareth Goodier, group chief executive officer, and Dr Anwar Sallam, acting group chief medical and clinical affairs officer, said that proposals have been submitted to the cabinet for a new specialised academic pediatric hospital in the capital.

With 500 pediatric patients at public hospitals in Abu Dhabi each day and 160 neonatal patients, there is a definite need for a paediatric hospital in Abu Dhabi, they said.

“With a total population of about three million and the number of pediatrics patients in our hospitals, there is a good case for it. We are currently working with the department of health and our partners to explore our options,” Dr Goodier said.

However, the decision, he said, would have to come from the cabinet.

“Our job is to come up with a plan for its execution. It makes sense to have a pediatric hospital so we are working hard now to establish one.”

Dr Sallam is also chair of the 13th Seha International Paediatric Conference, which was held this weekend.

Another gap in the healthcare system, which he hopes to be addressed, is adolescence care.

Adolescents, he said, have their own health issues that need specialised care that does not fall under either pediatrics or adult care.

These issues include drug abuse, smoking, sex education and eating disorders.

“We do not have enough staff within paediatric clinics to look into these problems and we cannot ignore them,” he said.

“Our system has to mature on how to handle these issues. The numbers are growing and we need to educate the public. We need to develop a system that address the problem from all sides and ultimately come up with guidelines that would help us protect this age group.”

Updated: January 19, 2019 04:52 PM

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