Eye on ‘quantum leap’ in health care

Dubai: Over the next two years, Dubai will see a new health strategy that will seek to reduce the burden of lifestyle diseases and make access to health facilities much easier and more efficient.

The strategy plan was released by Qadi Saeed Al Murooshid, Director-General of Dubai Health Authority (DHA), who said there will be a “quantum leap” in the level of health care and medical services through the implementation of several programmes, initiatives and legislations, in cooperation with the private sector.

Khalid Ahmad Al Shaikh Mubarak, Deputy Director-General of DHA, said the plan will create a balance between the public and private sectors with regard to spending on health.

He said the strategy will work to ensure that members of the community are financially able to obtain basic health care when needed and at reasonable cost.

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“This will be through the development and implementation of a policy of health care financing that will ensure universal coverage for the cost of treatment for citizens and coverage of basic health services for residents.”

Outlining the details of the health sector strategy for 2011-2013, Laila Al Jasmi, chief executive officer of Health Policy and Strategy, said it will reduce the burden of disease by promoting clinical best practices.

The DHA will implement several initiatives to achieve the objectives of this theme, she said, including measures focusing on changing the behaviour related to healthy eating and physical activities, strengthening relations on sale and consumption of tobacco products as well as expanding the functioning of treatment and cessation programmes for smokers to encourage them to quit smoking.

The CEO said plans also include early detection measures to treat conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and improve surveillance and monitoring for priority non-communicable diseases and conduct health surveys among schoolchildren.

Traffic injuries

“Initiatives also include the development and implementation of a unified system for surveillance, reporting and registry of injuries, working to achieve a comprehensive strategy for the prevention of road traffic injuries, and the development, dissemination and promotion of ways to use the uniform guidelines for clinical practice in the field of common diseases,” Laila said.

The second theme of the strategy is to facilitate access to health care services to ensure closer access to primarily health care facilities for the population, ensure that people get care in a timely manner, and facilitate investment in high-priority services and geographical areas.

Laila said the DHA will implement a number of initiatives to achieve the objectives which include improving the spatial distribution of primary health care facilities, facilitating private investment in primary health care services, especially in newly developed residential areas, upgrading policies on the use of land reserved for health care purposes to ensure a convenient, accessible distribution of primary health care facilities throughout Dubai.

The plan includes detailed, evidence-based projections of supply and demand for medical and allied health services in Dubai until 2020, she said. Special projects will be launched, based on results of the Dubai Clinical Services Capacity Plan, to fill priority gaps in service delivery such as rehabilitation services, neonatal care and fertility services.

The initiatives include developing and launching a comprehensive Public-Private Partnership Programme to facilitate investments in priority areas.

Medical tourism

A Dubai Medical Tourism Strategy will be developed and launched. A “single window” service will be opened to facilitate strategically important health care investments and maximise the impact and effectiveness of the overseas treatment programme for Emiratis.

The strategic plan will encourage local investment in services that account for a disproportionate share of overseas referrals and expenditure and implement long-term strategies to reduce overseas treatment expenditure.

A Dubai Health Services Navigator will help people find, choose and obtain basic information about public and private health care services, professionals and facilities and will incorporate high-level information about the performance of health care providers.

“We will publish standardised performance data from public and private providers to promote competition, transparency and choice,” said the official.

Better services

  •  REDUCTION: Reduce the burden of non-communicable lifestyle diseases and communicable/infections diseases.
  • Reduce the burden of injuries.
  • Reduce the burden of diseases by promoting clinical best practices
  • ACCESS: Ensure easy access to primary health care facilities.
  • Facilitate investment in high-priority services and geographies.
  • Expand consumer access to information on health and health care
  • QUALITY: Maintain and improve standards at health facilities.
  • Ensure quality, stability and availability of health professionals.
  • Protect consumers via transparent, accessible complaints procedures.
  • EFFICIENCY: Facilitate flow of information between and among patients and providers.
  • Optimise the introduction of new health care services and technologies.
  • Strengthen Dubai’s economic competitiveness and investment climate.
  • Support and motivate research on key health policy issues.