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International Healthcare in Dubai



Healthcare in Dubai

 Dubai is the 7th emirate to join the United Arab Emirates (UAE) grouping. It came into existence at about the same time as the UAE was formed, i.e. in 1971. Due to its emirate status, the local authorities in Dubai are not involved in any decision making processes involving legal, military, politics, and economy matters. These responsibilities lie on the UAE, which acts as the federal government.

 Life expectancy here in Dubai is fairly high; the average lifespan for males is close to 73 years while their female counterparts could outlive them to 78 years old. Government data indicated that crude birth rate remains stable at 12.8% and infant mortality rate is just under 0.92%.

 Chicken pox is a critical disease in Dubai with over 3,000 cases reported inn 2006. Other common infectious diseases are Viral Hepatitis B (392 reported) and Pulmonary Tuberculosis (312 reported) in the same year. Situated right in the middle of the middle-east region, extreme hot weather related discomforts are commonly expected, for example heat stroke.

 A Quick Glimpse into Dubai Health Care

 Dubai can boast of excellent healthcare by any standard.  This could be due too a number of reasons and some of them are:

  • New building of hospitals that are equipped with latest facilities,
  • strategic location – makes it a regional hub for the patients from neighboring,
  • plenty of clinics and hospitals.

 The combination of the factors mentioned above makes it feasible for the emirate to deliver quality healthcare services. However, take note that there is no legislation that compel state or private employer to provide any form of healthcare protection scheme for workers employed by them.

 The public healthcare program is managed by Department of Health and Medical Services (DOHMS) in Dubai. It deserves credit by making available inexpensive medical services to the local UAE residents, in some cases, these are free. Western medicine practitioners are also prevalent here and they form the bulk of private healthcare sector. A lot of these practitioners originate from countries like Pakistan, India, USA, Egypt and Europe, and these doctors are usually the owner of their practice. While there is no technical restriction on the number of private practices to be set up in Dubai, the authority has a strict screening process pertaining to the quality and practice of these medical professionals.

 House call is common practice among medical practitioners here. Perhaps the willingness for doctors to attend to post-clinic private medical calls is one factor take makes Dubai stand out from the rest of the world, especially the United States. At all times, the emirate wants to project a competent and quality image and no discrimination is allowed as far as medical treatment is concerned. All (regardless of nationality and residency in the emirate) are treated fairly. A simple medical consultation at a clinic would typically cost you approximately £40 if no further medical test is required. A house call in night-time could set you back by £70. The practice here is above-board and receipts would usually be issued at the end of treatment, which helps if you have an insurance plan to protect yourself from incidental medical costs.

The Dubai Healthcare City is the biggest medical facility ever built in UAE and it sits right here in Dubai. It hosts a Medical Center, a teaching hospital, the Harvard Medical School Dubai Center and the Boston University Institute of Dental Research and Education Dubai.

 Private Healthcare in Dubai

 As there is no legislation to make insurance compulsory for employees, foreign workers are well advised to procure their individual medical insurance plans. As an alternative, they could also apply from DOHMS a health card. This is the key to access medical services but this right is only restricted to public hospitals, and only during times of emergency.

 The medical facilities in Dubai were previously swamped by foreign expatriates and workers. Earlier report stated that close to 75% of public hospitals’ facilities are consumed by expatriates alone. Then the health authority decided in 2001 that foreigners no longer entitled to free medical benefits, but even with this measure in place, the medical charge (which was subsidized) was still inexpensive for this target group, and it did little to cut down the visits. The final straw was drawn in 2004. New legislation declared that all public hospitals are off-limit to foreigners except for those who are deemed for admission. Even though hospital room stays continues to be subsidized, but all other related expenses are to be borne fully by the foreigners. Unless there is a life-threatening situation, the position is not negotiable. If that is the situation, the emergency service is always available and free of charge.

 Undoubtedly, the public hospitals in Dubai have been associated with both quality and diversity, which make them ideal destinations for treatments on a number of medical conditions, and possibly surgical procedures as well. However, with new restrictions imposed on foreigners’ access to public healthcare, this effectively means that the only other option is private healthcare facilities. It is prudent that foreigners make sure that they are adequately covered by an established international healthcare provider during their stay in Dubai; otherwise all medical related expenses are to be paid in cash.

 Healthcare information you need to know before you leave for Dubai

 If you have been to cholera or yellow fever infested area in the last couple of weeks prior to your trip to Dubai, the local authority would expect you to produce a medical test result or certificate to show that you have not been affected. Dubai is famous for its exorbitantly high cost of living (including healthcare), so it is advisable you go there with tip-top health condition.

 Pay attention and take precaution on some common infections mentioned earlier. They are common infections in Dubai and the local authority has not been able to be on top of these infections yet. Another health risk you should be aware of (in addition to common diseases that affect the local population) is the sort of symptoms that affect the foreigners primarily. They could be alcoholism, respiratory-associated issues, heat stroke, sunburn, dehydration, just to name a few. While alcoholism is not a disease strictly speaking, it is a major cause of concern in the emirate, especially among expatriates. The inclination to drink tends to manifest when people feel homesickness or stressful work environment. Construction industry has been booming in Dubai in recent years the vast availability of sand and dust means that workers there are exposed to the respiratory-related problems. Of course, the extreme weather in middle-east is the single biggest factor to cause heat strokes, dehydration and sunburns.

In case of emergency situation in Dubai, your instinct should be immediately pick the phone up and ring the ambulance, or if you can still manage, flag down a cab to take you to the nearest hospital. Make a habit to have information such as hospital’s address and phone number readily available so as you can get to the nearest hospital in the least time. It would help also if you can alert the medical staff of your impeding arrival so they could make sufficient preparation on their end.

 Sleeping pills and anti-depressant medications are controlled items in Dubai and they are usually not available from over the counter at most drug stores. Unless you can produce prescription proof to show that you need them on medical grounds, no exemption would be made by the drug stores. Anyway, drugs in Dubai also cost quite a bit so it would make sense if you can bring or ship them from home. Printed receipts would usually be handed over at the end of transactions, if not, you could request for them. The receipts would be handy if you plan to make a claim from your insurance company with your coverage.

How to find the best medical insurance in Dubai

If you travel to Dubai it is important to choose a good Health insurance plan. The regulations in the UAE can be quite complex and choosing the right Health Insurance plan for yourself and your family can be challenging. We can help you select the most appropriate Health Insurance for your needs in Dubai. Whether you wish to select a competitive or comprehensive Healthcare plan our team of advisors will guide you. Please do not hesitate to contact us for a free insurance Health Insurance quotation in Dubai.

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