x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Umm al Qaiwain Government pledges more hospitals

The Ministry of Health has promised more clinics and hospitals in Umm al Qaiwain following complaints from residents.

SHARJAH // The Ministry of Health has promised more clinics and hospitals in Umm al Qaiwain faftercomplaints from residents. Dr Hanif Hassan, the Minister of Health, opening a new primary health centre in Falaj Maula last week, acknowledged the shortage of healthcare facilities in the emirate and said the "problem would be solved soon".

"We already have a number of health projects to undertake in Umm al Qaiwain. The opening of this health centre is just the beginning," he said. Dr Hassan promised that this year alone, three more primary health centres would open, in the areas of Al Rafah, Dhidna and Muhaisnah. Umm al Qaiwain has one hospital, two primary healthcare clinics and one preventive medicine centre. The National reported last month that the only maternity ward in the emirate was shut down for maintenance in October, forcing expectant mothers to attend clinics in other emirates. Although a temporary gynaecology ward has been set up in Umm al Qaiwain Hospital, pregnant women have complained it is small and ill-equipped.

"The new centre would have all primary health care services, pregnancy follow-up care until seven months, immunisations and blood tests as well as school health services to the areas schools," said Sultan al Kharji, the director of Umm al Quwain health zone. This would provide relief to the residents of Falaj Muala and other neighbourhoods such as Rashidiya, Nabagha and Labasah. Residents have urged the authorities to provide more health facilities as quickly as possible, especially ones offering emergency services.

"It is painful when someone falls sick at night or a pregnant wife needs to give birth and you have to drive long distances to get to the hospital. Such vital services should now be available in every area of the UAE," said Saleem Juma, 40, an Emirati living in Falaj Muala. Ahmed Humaid, 32, also an Emirati and a resident of the old Shababiya area, said: "When you go to Umm al Qaiwain Hospital, you, at times, have to wait for 30 minutes to see a doctor because each section has one doctor seeing over a number of patients."

He complained that the demand for the services of existing centres far outstripped the quantity of available medical staff. @Email:ykakande@thenational.ae