Better Abu Dhabi hospitals will improve health and provide jobs

Increasing capacity of Abu Dhabi's specialist medical centres helps the UAE in many ways, including moving the country towards being a knowledge economy and a destination for health tourism.

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The new specialist women and children’s hospital that is set to open early next year in the capital is yet another sign of progress in the fast-growing health care landscape of Abu Dhabi.

As The National reported yesterday, the Dh700 million Danat Al Emarat hospital will offer a range of services, including gynaecology, paediatrics, general surgery, general medicine, maternity, neonatal care and IVF. It will have 150 beds on two floors when it opens and will later be expanded to accommodate 250 beds.

This facility, along with other similar developments that will increase the capital’s health care capacity, is important for several reasons.

On an immediate level, this will provide those who live in Abu Dhabi with access to better and more specialised medical care, and will also help the emirate cope with predicted increases in its population.

On a strategic level, the health care sector is the perfect example of the UAE’s goal to become a knowledge-based economy and to move away from reliance on its oil and gas resources.

The medical sector has many highly-skilled and well-paid jobs which will be a good mix for an increasingly well-educated Emirati workforce.

Furthermore, this kind of specialised facility with integrated accommodation will also increase the appeal of the UAE as a health tourism destination, so that people from throughout the region will come here for treatment and keep money circulating through the local economy rather than going to medical centres in Europe or elsewhere.

The benefits of this approach will cascade through the local economy, both by providing employment for nationals and also for the specialist staff who will move to the UAE to run these facilities.

This goes well beyond doctors and related medical fields like pharmacology, radiographers, nurses and so on.

It will also include specialists in fields such as IT, human resources and administration staff. Their presence in turn will boost the local real estate and retail sectors.

The health sector is also a robust one, being generally immune to the trends and fads that affect other industries, and particularly extractive ones.

In short, everyone needs health care and it is a largely recession-proof sector.

Abu Dhabi establishing itself as a regional centre of excellence for medical treatments is welcome news for everyone who calls the UAE home.