x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

UAE scholarships to nurture home-grown medics

The Al Jalila Foundation announced the Dh3 million fund to create a strong homegrown health service by covering the cost of courses for Emiratis in several medical subjects.

DUBAI// A scholarship programme to nurture the brightest and best Emiratis studying medicine has been launched by a UAE charity.

The Al Jalila Foundation announced the Dh3 million fund to create a strong homegrown health service by covering the cost of university courses for UAE nationals in a variety of medical subjects.

"We have gaps in the market for specialised medical and healthcare professionals and by helping young Emirati medical students we are investing in our future," said Dr Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama, the foundation's chief executive.

"We don't have a set quota of students we are looking to support but instead we are aiming to go for quality over quantity."

To be eligible for a scholarship students must have been accepted by an accredited university in the UAE.

"The grant could vary from Dh40,000 to Dh100,000 or more depending on the cost of the university course. By training more homegrown medical experts the UAE's health sector will become more self-reliant and the expertise will stay in the country," Mr Al Olama said.

Students can apply for courses ranging from nursing, paediatric care and dentistry to psychiatry, as well as medical studies of their own choice. The deadline for applications is August 1.

"We are devising local solutions for local challenges," said Raja Easa Saleh Al Gurg, a member of the foundation's board of trustees and chair of the board of directors.

"We will identify, nurture and retain our brightest medical talents to usher in a steady stream of graduates and ensure sustainable growth within our health sector."

Professor Sehamuddin Galadari, chairman of the foundation's scientific advisory committee, said the scheme would help to create a thriving healthcare system.

"As more locally nurtured medical graduates emerge, they will set an inspiring example and motivate other gifted students," he said.

The foundation has also launched a 12-week course for Emirati parents of children with special needs to teach them how to better care for their youngsters.

The training will take place at the British University of Dubai. About 400 parents will attend weekly classes to learn how to live with and understand children with behavioural and learning disabilities.

"We have many cases of children with various kinds of special needs and by helping parents we can improve the way they interact and care for their children and help them to reach their full potential," Dr Al Olama said.

The project, which is under the Ta'alouf or harmony programme, will run for three years but could be extended. The deadline for applications is September.

Once parents have been trained they can then impart their knowledge to others, Dr Al Olama said.

"The biggest problem children with special needs face is communication with other people. By working with teachers and health professionals we can help them understand a child's needs, allowing them to get the education and care they need."

The foundation was established by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, in November last year and is named after his daughter.

It was inaugurated in April with the task of raising Dh100 million for research into a wide range of diseases and medical conditions.

So far Dh50 million has been raised. For more details, visit www.aljalilafoundation.ae