How Thumbay’s Gulf Medical University educated almost 60% of the health professionals who trained in the UAE

The campus features six colleges and lies at heart of Thumbay Medicity, a sprawling 1 million square feet area in Ajman

Thumbay Medicity Ajman plays a key role in the advancement of medical education, health care and research. Image: supplied
Thumbay Medicity Ajman plays a key role in the advancement of medical education, health care and research. Image: supplied

Gulf Medical University, the UAE’s first private institution of its kind, has provided more than half of the health professionals trained in the country with their vocational education.

The campus, which features six colleges, lies at the heart of Thumbay Medicity, a sprawling 1 million square feet site in Ajman.

About 4,000 students – half full-time and half part-time – from around the world are enrolled on two dozen accredited programmes, in specialisations including medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and anaesthesiology.

Its first PhD programme was introduced this year for all nationalities, with a preference given to Emirati students.

I am making it sound very easy. But the last 23 years wasn’t very easy. It was a struggle to create this

Dr Thumbay Moideen

“In medical education, we are the only medical university in the private sector in the entire Gulf region,” said the university’s founder and president of the board of trustees, Dr Thumbay Moideen. He is also founder president of Thumbay Group.

“We have almost trained 60 per cent of the health professionals [who have trained] in the country. It’s not doctors only, it’s nurses, dental, physiotherapy and all of that.”

The university and its network of academic hospitals have also educated approximately a fifth of the doctors who trained in the UAE.

The institution was founded in 1998 after Dr Moideen, a businessman from a family of entrepreneurs in the south Indian state of Karnataka, stopped off in the UAE on his way to Tanzania.

At first, not everyone was convinced the plan would succeed.

“When we first started building the hospital, someone told me you are building a hospital in Ajman where there is no population, it’s the smallest emirate,” said Dr Moideen.

“I said I have no option. I have built a medical school, I have to have a hospital.”

But Dr Moideen forged ahead, and his persistence paid off.

The Thumbay Hospital network treats patients from as many as 175 countries.

“Luckily for us, it became the busiest hospital in the country,” he said.

More than Dh1 billion has been invested by Thumbay Group in the sector.

“We have a huge campus. We have 1 million square feet of land.

“We have been real trend setters, very innovative.

“I am making it sound very easy. But the last 23 years wasn’t very easy. It was a struggle to create this.”

Dr Thumbay Moideen, founder president of Thumbay Group. Image: supplied
Dr Thumbay Moideen, founder president of Thumbay Group. Image: supplied

Dr Moideen believes the company's alignment with the strategic vision of the UAE’s leadership has been the reason for his success.

"I have always regarded God's Grace, the government's support, and my team as the three main reasons for our achievements."

The company’s core business remains medical education and academic health research.

But it has built an entire medical city around the university, employing more than 3,500 staff, 400 of whom are doctors.

The campus features eight academic hospitals with a total of 800 beds, 11 medical centres, 46 pharmacies, five laboratories and other subsidiary businesses.

Many of the facilities are the biggest of their kind in the UAE.

Thumbay University Hospital was the first and largest private academic hospital in the region, while Thumbay Dental Hospital is the first private dental hospital in the country, and the largest academic dental hospital in the Middle East region’s private sector.

Thumbay Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Hospital is the biggest rehabilitation hospital in the country.

The site also boasts the country’s largest robotic pharmacy, in addition to Thumbay Labs, the biggest CAP-accredited private diagnostic labs in the region.

Medical tourism is another focus. The Thumbay Medical tourism department has offices in more than 50 countries and its employees speak 20 languages.

Thumbay Labs processes a large number of Covid-19 PCR tests daily and two of the group's hospitals provide more than 200 beds for the treatment of coronavirus patients.

The sprawling site, which attracts 15,000 visitors each day, also features leisure amenities for those visiting, including Body & Soul Health Club and Spa.

There is a food court with options for food from Asia, India, China, South India and Arabic cuisines, as well as The Terrace Restaurant and Blends & Brews Coffee Shoppe.

A planned Thumbay Housing Project will accommodate 2,500 staff and students.

Updated: May 31, 2021 09:20 AM

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