x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

National Council to unite health care

A new National Health Council will be established to oversee health care and standards across the nation.

ABU DHABI // A new National Health Council will be established to oversee health care and standards across the nation. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, issued a decree yesterday to approve the council under the chairmanship of Humaid Mohammed al Qutami, the Minister of Health, the government news agency WAM reported. The mandate of the council is to co-ordinate health care initiatives of the public and private sectors on both the federal and local levels. Currently, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the northern emirates operate under different regulatory bodies, which can result in dissimilar laws and standards in different areas in the country.

Dr Salem al Darmaki, the chief executive of support services at the Ministry of Health, spoke to The National about the new council in April. "The role of this council is very important," he said at the time. "It will co-ordinate different projects. It will be more cost-effective. It will be more efficient. It will contribute to the training of doctors and nurses. This will be a co-ordination council that will also involve the private sector. It will contribute to the quality of health service in the UAE."

The Ministry of Health, the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Health Authority will each have two representatives on the council, as will the Interior Ministry and the Armed Forces. Three private organisations will also be represented. Two have yet to be chosen, but the third is Dubai Health Care City. The council is designed to aid communication and co-operation between the different sectors of the health industry, resulting in a system that will be more streamlined and responsive to the public's needs.

It will also allow decisions to be made at a national level. This could simplify issues such as health insurance and the licensing of doctors and nurses, which operate under different regulations in different emirates. This larger body will also co-ordinate efforts with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to improve research in health science and medicine. An official from the Ministry of Health said it could result in "centres of excellence", which would pool information on one topic for the benefit of the country, and would liaise with international bodies regarding scientific advances on the subject.

Continuing medical education will also be co-ordinated by this organisation and include conferences, seminars, workshops and presentations by international experts.The council will allow the UAE to present a unified voice on health issues and to co-ordinate better with international bodies, such as the World Health Organisation and the United Nations. Presently, these organisations engage with one of the three authorities, depending on the initiative. Laws, directives, bylaws and recommendations will also be made by the higher authority on issues concerning health care and its implementation.

@Email:amcmeans@thenational.ae * with additional reporting from WAM