x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Dubai Health Authority recruits 217 Emirati doctors

A programme at the Dubai Health Authority seeks to make entering the medical profession attractive to Emiratis.

DUBAI // The Dubai Health Authority has recruited more than 200 Emirati doctors as part of its effort to encourage more UAE citizens to enter the health industry.

The authority's residency training programme recruited 217 doctors in various medical fields including gynaecology, general surgery, internal medicine and paediatrics. The doctors will get an opportunity to enter a one-year internship programme, followed by a four-to-five year specialisation in the medical residency programme.

Dr Khalil Qayed, the authority's director of medical education, said that Emiratis make up only about 20 per cent of doctors in Dubai.

"This is a round number, but we are still collecting data to make sure we get a more accurate report," he said.

Compensation and the level of commitment required are factors that prevent local talent from pursuing health care, Dr Qayed said.

"Someone who gets a degree in business administration, for example, will take only three to four years to finish and begin earning a salary," he said.

"Whereas someone who decides to pursue medicine must study for seven years, then specialise before they start earning the same salary."

As a prerequisite to the free training programme, applicants must have a medical degree, take an exam and sit through an interview, Dr Qayed said, adding that a number of higher education options in the field of medicine do exist locally.

Still, other areas need to be explored, he said, including the setting of Emiratisation quotas and increasing salaries.

"The higher authorities should determine how many Emiratis are needed in a certain year and work towards that goal," he said. "They should also focus on the benefits. A doctor takes on the responsibility of human life. That on its own is an incentive."