Amazing transformation in just 53 years

UAE health system’s early days are a far cry from today.

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1943 A small healthcare centre opens in Al Ras, Dubai

1951 The first phase of the Al Maktoum Hospital, Dubai, is built

1960 The Oasis Hospital in Al Ain is founded

1966 A small outpatient department opens in Abu Dhabi

1967 Dr Philip Horniblow is appointed to work in UAE with a brief to develop a national health service

1968 Abu Dhabi Central Hospital, a 200-bed unit, opens

1970 Al Jimi Hospital, in Al Ain, is built

1971 There are now seven hospitals and 700 beds in the UAE

1973 The building of the Al Maktoum Hospital is completed, with 157 beds

1972 The Department of Health and Medical Services is established. Rashid Hospital also opens in Dubai, adding another 454 beds

1975 Seven community clinics are opened in Dubai

1978 Al Jazeera Hospital, a 300-bed medical facility, opens in Abu Dhabi, as does Mafraq Hospital

1983 A hospital is inaugurated in Deira, known as the Dubai Hospital, equipped with 625 beds

1986 Al Wasl Hospital, a 367-bed specialised maternity and paediatric hospital, is inaugurated. The name is later changed to Latifa Hospital

1988-1995 Six community health centres are opened across Dubai

1998 The concept of primary health care is established and adopted in line with the philosophy of the World Health Organisation's motto "Health For All By The Year 2000". In Dubai, 20 heath centres are opened across the emirate

2000 Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre, a 250-bed acute care medical facility, is commissioned in Abu Dhabi

2002 Dubai Healthcare City is launched

2005 Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi is established

2006 Abu Dhabi is the first emirate to implement mandatory health insurance for all workers

2007 The Dubai Health Authority, the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company are all established

2013 Dubai is set to introduce mandatory health insurance for all and one of Abu Dhabi's flagship healthcare projects, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, is set to open

* Jennifer Bell