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Dr Azad Moopen: Turning point for UAE healthcare

Founder and chairman of DM Healthcare, says changes in healthcare insurance rules mean that 2014 will be a busy year
Moving on up 2014 will see DM Healthcare roll out ACCESS clinics in four Gulf countries.
By Azad Moopen
Fri 03 Jan 2014 11:00 AM

The year 2014 is going to be a turning point in the history of the healthcare sector in the UAE, especially in Dubai. The most important thing is the implementation of the universal health coverage law in Dubai. Evolved after several years of homework, the system now guarantees quality healthcare for the entire Dubai population including citizens and expatriate employees - from labourers to higher management executives. Nearly two million additional people will be covered under the universal health coverage in Dubai. Provision of essential health coverage, routed through all major insurance companies, is mandatory for  employers.

The law will have multiple positive effects on the emirate’s healthcare segment. All the existing health facilities should have to increase their capacity and infrastructure to accommodate the newly covered people. Implementation of the regulations will see constraints of the facilities in the initial years, but will be manageable with the developments gradually. More emphasis should be given to resolve the issue of shortage infrastructure and quality healthcare delivery as well as unavailability of trained medical professionals.

The UAE itself is now on a historic transition to guarantee health security for all residents in the country. Adopting universal healthcare is the best form of providing health protection in the modern society. It’s the moral obligation of a civilised society.

When it comes to the key trends happening in the healthcare industry, the most significant one is increasing health coverage and access to quality healthcare for every individual. Several companies have already started providing health insurance to their employees even before the announcement of the new regulations.

Increasing availability of advanced medical care is another major change in the health sector. Earlier, several people used to fly abroad for medical treatment of chronic diseases. More people now are receiving advanced medical care locally. Other noticeable trends are the increasing number of skilled and specialised doctors and other medical professionals as well as embracing new medical technologies.

The number of people coming to the UAE for medical treatment has increased due to the availability of the premium treatment options here. Public and Private Partnership (PPP) model with positive interactions between the public and private sectors is also gaining momentum. The earnest efforts by the authorities to reduce prices of a number of medicines recently have also been appreciated widely.

Aster DM Healthcare has augmented its business plan in Dubai for the year 2014 in alignment with the newly announced universal medical insurance policy. We are ready to lead the change meeting the growing demand for specialised care and providing holistic treatment of international quality standards to the residents as well as catering to the medical tourism segment in the UAE.

We are implementing major expansion plans under the Aster, Medcare and ACCESS brands, in line with the growing healthcare needs for improving access and speed of specialised care. At the same time, we are also developing new facilities – including medical centres and pharmacies - to meet the increased demand for delivery of quality healthcare in other geographies of the region. There are significant development activities are ongoing under Aster DM Healthcare in India too. The major project is Aster Medcity, a quaternary care global medical city in Kochi, in the south Indian state of Kerala. The conglomeration of several multi-super specialty hospitals in one campus, with high-end infrastructure and cutting-edge technology, will be launched in 2014.

Aster DM Healthcare is also operating 5 ACCESS Clinics, the budget-model facilities, in different parts of Dubai aimed to catering to the low-income segment of the society. We are expanding the network of ACCESS budget clinics, setting up more facilities in different locations as part of our social commitment. By the end of this year, several ACCESS clinics will be rolled out across the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait.

We are currently developing three new Aster Hospitals - in Dubai, Sharjah and Qatar. The first Aster Hospital, located in Mankhool-Bur Dubai, is nearing completion and will be commissioned in the beginning of 2014. The other two Aster Hospitals, in Sharjah and Qatar, are also under construction. The work on Medcare Women & Children Specialised Hospital on Sheikh Zayed Road is also ongoing and will be unveiled in 2014.

DM Healthcare is working ahead to be at forefront of the healthcare industry. The group is currently in the midst of an exponential expansion, and we have about 1,200 beds under construction. In the next 12 years, the group aims to be a global player in healthcare. The strategy is not just to be in the Middle East and India, but to spread our wings into several other geographies. The number of units under the group’s control is set to grow to 300 by the year 2017, and we are looking at further investment opportunities all over the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Aster DM Healthcare significantly contributes to Dubai’s medical sector giving priority to raise the standards of medical practice. We offer advanced medical care and emergency services through the synergy of cutting-edge medical technology, and highly qualified medical professionals of multinational and multi-lingual background.  As the largest network of health facilities in Dubai, Aster DM Healthcare stands for accessibility, availability and affordability of quality healthcare for all.

We always aim to stimulate continuous and systematic improvements in performance and outcome of patient care. The facilities we are currently setting up as part of our expansion plans are crucial for the benefit and welfare of our patients.

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Last Updated: Sat 28 Jan 2017 03:50 PM GST

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