x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Foundation stone laid for children's hospital

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has laid the foundation stone for the UAE's first dedicated children's hospital.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has laid the foundation stone for the UAE's first dedicated children's hospital. The Dh1bn (US$272.3mn) Jalilah Specialised Paediatric Hospital is being built close to Al Wasl Hospital and will have a capacity of about 200 beds, the official WAM news agency reported yesterday. The hospital, which is named after Sheikh Mohammed's daughter Sheikha Al Jalilah , is due to be finished next year. "The hospital should be a sanctuary for children," Sheikh Mohammed was quoted as saying.

He added that it is a national and humanitarian duty to provide an environment in which young people could flourish. The Sheikh, who was accompanied by Deputy Ruler, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid, and other officials, viewed an electronic presentation on the hospital project. He expressed delight at the undertaking, which aims to combat a shortage of specialist child care centres in the UAE, according to WAM.

"This state-of-the-art medical institution constitutes a historic step towards updating comprehensive health care in the UAE," said Qadhi Saeed al Murooshid, the director of the Dubai Health Authority. The hospital project was announced in December last year. Doctors welcomed the news, citing a great need for a specialist children's hospital in the UAE. At the time of the announcement, Dr Anwar Malick, a paediatrician at the Gulf Diagnostic Centre in Abu Dhabi, said he had seen a dramatic rise in the need for children's services over the 25 years that he had been working in the UAE.

"There is definitely a need for a specialist hospital," he said. "With the population of the UAE rising so quickly, the number of children is rising quickly also. This will be very good for everyone." Several other hospitals are also building or extending paediatric wards. WAM did not say exactly what day Sheikh Mohammed laid the foundation stone. chamilton@thenational.ae