The UAE Difference: Why expats have got it made when it comes to healthcare
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The UAE Difference: Why expats have got it made when it comes to healthcare

The UAE has received many favorable rankings over the years with regards to its healthcare system, and it has recently received another one that it can be proud of. Here, we examine areas where UAE medical systems excel in order to let new expats to the country know that they are in good hands.



A recent ranking from the United Nations has put the United Arab Emirates at the top of world for a measurement that would seemingly make it very attractive for people considering moving to the UAE. Before we get into that, however, let’s see where else the UAE excels when it comes to healthcare.

  • The last time the World Health Organization ranked the health systems of all of its 191 member states in 2000, the UAE was ranked 27th overall, with Oman and Saudi Arabia as the only other countries in the region ranking ahead of it.

  • A 2014 report shows that the United Arab Emirates is a leader in the Middle East health-wise. Bloomberg ranked the UAE inside of the top 10 countries having the ‘Most Efficient Health Care’ in that year. This ranking was based on a combination of various life expectancy, healthcare cost metrics. The only other country in the region that ranked higher than the UAE was Israel.

  • In 2015 the Medical Tourism Index ranked Dubai specifically as the 17th top medical tourism destination in the world.

It seems that when it comes to healthcare the UAE is not only doing very well, but better than most or all other countries in the region. Additionally, the country appears to be competing on a world stage for top healthcare honors. This is welcome news to expats that are in, or are considering a move to, the UAE. All of the accolades above are in the past, though. What are we seeing from the UAE healthcare system in 2016 and beyond though?

Back to the present

As alluded to at the beginning of this article, the UAE was recently highlighted for a feature of its medical landscape that speaks volumes about the potential of the country for those seeking medical treatments of all stripes, and that is that the UAE ranks first globally in having internationally accredited health outlets.

While it makes for a good headline, the underlying point to take away here is that the UAE has shown an extraordinary commitment to not only expanding the country’s medical infrastructure to address the future influx of patients that the Emirates are expecting, but also to proving that the quality of services received at UAE facilities will be among the best in the world. This is exemplified by recent headlines concerning new medical breakthroughs that have been seen in the UAE, such as recently announced telemedicine initiatives in UAE hospitals or the first global robotic surgery being performed in Sharjah.

As it stands, the major medical standards organization Joint Commission International (JCI) lists 130 facilities in the UAE that it has provided accreditation for, which is certainly not a number to sneeze at in a country with relatively low surface area compared to many of the countries its healthcare system competes with for patients.

Commitment to the future

It can generally be seen that Abu Dhabi and Dubai are leading the charge when it comes to advancing UAE healthcare systems. The Dubai Health Authority (DHA), for instance, has recently announced that it is keen to create more investment opportunities in Dubai’s medical sector. Along with this, it was highlighted that a focus on preventative care would be developed alongside potential investment vehicles. A truly forward thinking outlook to be sure.

For more information on what the future may hold in store for each emirate’s healthcare system, it would be wise to avail yourself of a particular emirate’s local healthcare administrative organization. For instance, Dubai’s new Dubai Health Strategy 2021 lays out 4 approaches, 6 objectives, 15 programmes, and 93 initiatives the Emirate wishes to accomplish by 2021.

Ensuring your family’s health

Perhaps the only downfall of the landscape of the UAE as far as medical facilities is concerned is that, despite the sheer number of them creating high levels of competition, prices for treatment in the UAE are still not considered to be among the best in the world. This has enticed people around the globe to visit destinations such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey, Hungary and more as medical tourists. Government healthcare organizations in the UAE have a desire for attracting more medical tourism to the country in order to cement the UAE as a regional medical hub. For example, this is the primary stated goal of Dubai’s of Dubai Health Strategy 2021.

As such, being able to cover the cost of medical expenses for you and your family in the UAE is paramount, and governments are becoming increasingly aware of this. The DHA, for instance, has created rules requiring Dubai residents to be insured, going so far as to even require that anyone entering the Emirate must have private health insurance coverage. If you have yet to obtain the health insurance that you need, or you think you should be getting more from your current plan, contact the experts at UAE Medical Insurance today. Not only can they answer all of your insurance questions, they also offer an array of government compliant insurance options and top-up plans for company insurance that isn’t up to your standards.

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