In the past few years, the UAE has made noticeable strides in improving the structure of the healthcare sector by delinking operational institutions from supervisory or regulatory bodies. Such efforts reinforce the overarching role of the Ministry of Health as a legislative, regulatory and preventive authority.
The emirate of Abu Dhabi has led by example in demarcating healthcare management from healthcare regulation by replacing the General Authority of Health Services with two entities – the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), an independent public joint stock company that owns and operates all public hospitals and clinics across Abu Dhabi, as well as the Department of Health that regulates the public and private healthcare sectors.
For its part, Dubai has taken tangible steps too with Law No. 6 and Decrees No. 17 and 18 of 2018, which led to restructuring the internal management of the Dubai Health Authority on par with global standards in terms of organisational units and their roles and specialties.
Policy decisions also mandated the establishment of the Dubai Healthcare Corporation, Dubai Health Insurance Corporation and other allied entities, thereby reengineering public service offerings and DHA’s organisational functions.
The restructuring efforts have proven vital not just in increasing efficiency but also towards reducing costs, size, units, departments and levels in the restructured institution, and improving competitiveness overall.
The health industry is facing considerable challenges worldwide in terms of accommodating the rapid changes in medical sciences and technologies
The concept of delinking operational and regulatory functions is not specific to the UAE alone, and has been endorsed by global health systems. In recent years, countries of the GCC region have tended to separate government hospitals from the Ministry of Health, and set up independent bodies to overcome administrative problems and adopt ways to provide greater autonomy to healthcare facilities. This demarcation provides operational institutions with independence to form partnerships, sell assets or hand over their management to a private company to further drive and develop government synergies and relationships with the private sector.
At Dubai Science Park, we have been witnessing these transformations in healthcare operations that are aligned with the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030, with much interest.
As a destination that focuses on exploring investment ideas, introducing investors to new opportunities, providing the facilities they need, and communicating with decision makers to inform them of investors’ needs, Dubai Science Park is keenly receptive to all medical and scientific developments that take place in the country and their implications for the sector at large in this region and beyond.
Today, the health industry is facing considerable challenges worldwide in terms of accommodating the rapid changes in medical sciences and technologies, the advancements in prevention, diagnosis and treatment methods, as well as the tremendous and continuous surge in information, data and communication networks that disrupt the status quo from one minute to the next, and will continue to disrupt.
Restructuring the health industry is a significant first step in building a best-in-class healthcare hub
Closer home in Dubai, the importance of the healthcare industry cannot be emphasised enough – as it also plays a crucial role in diversifying the economy away from oil. The Dubai Health Strategy 2016-2021 aims to make the emirate a leading healthcare destination through adopting innovative and integrated healthcare models, implementing accountability principles and standards through an innovative framework for governing the health sector, and enhancing public-private sector partnerships in regulating, offering and sustaining health services.
These administrative changes can lead to the sector’s overall advancement. However, if we are to transform Dubai into a global healthcare hub, greater engagement from the private sector can play a pivotal role in increasing investments in R&D.
Creating an ecosystem that feeds innovation through an advanced infrastructure, expanded networks, and an enabling regulatory framework will also help establish Dubai’s position as a destination for innovative businesses seeking a suitable environment to launch into neighboring markets. This in turn, can only be achieved by attracting reputable global health institutions and experts to offer treatment solutions and supportive smart technologies.
Given what is at stake, the restructuring of the health industry is a significant first step in building a best-in-class healthcare hub comparable to developed nations around the world.
Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi is also the Chairing Member of the Pharmaceutical and Medical Equipment Taskforce within the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030.
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