UAE a pivot of pathbreaking medical treatment - GulfToday

UAE a pivot of pathbreaking medical treatment

Medical Tourism

The UAE holds a special position in regional and international medical tourism space.

The days when a resident in the UAE needed to go abroad have been given the go-by. Now complex surgeries can be performed in this country, much to the relief of the patient and the delight of his family.

To illustrate. Bosnian patient Edin Mackic recently underwent a minimally invasive transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi.

Edin was presented to the hospital with heart failure symptoms, including shortness of breath and chest pain. What he did not know was that he had been suffering from severe aortic stenosis, caused by a calcific and degenerative valve disease. This serious valve problem restricts the blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta but may not cause noticeable symptoms immediately.

The TAVR team was able to replace his valve with the latest fourth-generation TAVR technology using conscious sedation rather than general anaesthesia, which further reduces the risk of complication and improves recovery, while avoiding side effects of typical open-heart surgery.

In November last year, a group of 20 highly-trained doctors and medical support staff of the Latifa Women and Children’s Hospital and Rashid Hospital in Dubai, performed a landmark surgery on a baby boy. In a first of its kind in the Arab world, the baby, expected to be born approximately after 34 weeks, was diagnosed with the severest form of spinal cord defect called Myelomeningicole. Thanks to the skills of the medical team, the baby was given the opportunity to live normally.

These are just two examples that bear testimony to the fact that the United Arab Emirates has established itself as one of the best medical tourism destinations in the world over the past years, thanks to international confidence in its health sector, which has succeeded in attracting major medical institutions of international prestige. The country ranked first among GCC countries in best medical tourism destination globally according to the US-based Medical Tourism Association.

Dubai maintained its advanced position as the first Arab destination for medical treatment, based on the “Global medical Tourism Index” issued by the International Health Care Research Center (IHRC).

The emirate ranked sixth in the world, within a list of 46 of the most unique international destinations, in a qualitative achievement that reaffirms its success in developing modern infrastructures and advanced medical facilities that enhance its competitive elements in providing advanced healthcare services for travellers coming for treatment purposes from different parts of the world.

The UAE is at the forefront of many global indicators in the field of health, as in 2019 it ranked first in 7 global indicators, according to a report issued in 2020 by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre.

Medical tourism proceeds in the UAE recorded Dhs12.1 billion in 2018, and are likely to hit a target of Dhs19.5 billion by 2023.

The UAE has launched many initiatives to attract medical tourism. For example, the Dubai Health Authority launched “Dubai Health Experience” as the world’s first medical tourism portal, offering visitors to the emirate comprehensive services at the click of a button.

The portal allows visitors to book medical procedures and take advantage of discounted air fairs, visa, medical insurance, hotels stays, leisure activities and more.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health Abu Dhabi (DoH) and Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, launched the Abu Dhabi medical tourism e-portal in 2018.

‏The e-portal provides a list of 40 healthcare facilities and more than 287 medical treatment packages from over 173 doctors across the emirate.

The UAE also approved a policy of providing comprehensive healthcare for all citizens and residents alike, through its preventive and curative programmes.

The draft health insurance law obligated the provision of health insurance to the citizens and residents in the country.

With so much pampering and encouragement for the patient, medical treatment, with the latest high-tech equipment, has gone up by several notches. And continues to stay there, much to the delight of all those involved.

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