Medical school will be a boon for Abu Dhabi

Training and retaining doctors here in Abu Dhabi is healthy move for the emirate.

News that the capital is to get its first medical school is a welcome and timely step towards the emirate’s, and country’s, aim to develop a sustainable knowledge-based economy. The school, to be attached to Khalifa University as part of a wider upgrade,is among 13 projects now approved by the Urban Planning Council.

The Khalifa medical school will help build on the work at UAE University in Al Ain, which pioneered public medical education in the emirate and has graduated 534 medical students since 1993. The Dubai Medical College has also been undertaking the important task of educating ­female doctors for the past three decades.

Establishing a new college in the capital should act as an incentive for more Emiratis to study medicine, especially those who live at home with their families. As Fatima Al Dhaheri, a physician from Al Ain, who moved to work as a teaching assistant in the Department of Paediatric Medicine at UAE University, told The National earlier this year: “Most graduates are female and most won’t consider going abroad for training, so the need for local training is important.” Emirati doctors trained in the UAE are more likely to remain here, or to return after postgraduate study or work experience abroad.

As The National has noted previously, the training of more doctors within the emirate will help create and sustain a virtuous cycle that will enhance the health of individuals and the country itself.

The new medical school will require faculty members, and hopefully they will be recruited from among the brightest and best the world has to offer. In addition to teaching undergraduates, many of these professionals will also consult in hospitals and clinics, enhancing the level of medical care available to Abu Dhabi residents. The new school could also become a base for much-needed medical research.

More and better doctors will also contribute to the recently stated aim of making the UAE a hub for medical tourism, which could create thousands of jobs and bring billions of dirhams into the economy.

Training and retaining doctors here in Abu Dhabi is a healthy move for the emirate and it should be just the tonic for the country’s ever-diversifying economy.

Published: May 22, 2014 04:00 AM

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