Training hospital hopes to prepare next generation of Emirati doctors

Thumbay Moideen, founder and president of Gulf Medical University, hopes to see Emirati enrollment increase significantly when the new hospital opens by 2018.

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AJMAN // Preparing the next generation of Emirati doctors and nurses for a career in medicine is the aim of a multi-million dirham training hospital set to open in Ajman.

The facility forms part of expansion plans by the Gulf Medical University, which currently has 165 Emiratis enrolled on courses out of a 1,100 students.

Thumbay Moideen, founder and president of the university, hopes to see that figure increase significantly when the new hospital opens in 2017 or 2018.

“We encourage them to come,” said Mr Moideen. “The government of Ajman wants us to support Emiratis also. We also have a scholarship scheme for Emiratis. Anyone who’s weak financially can still join us because we want Emiratis.”

He said interest from citizens – who would otherwise enrol at the federal UAE University for their medical studies, as it does not charge fees – is growing.

“It’s very important for us. We are in this country and need to support the locals,” said Mr Moideen.

“It’s our duty to do it. Our Emirati graduates are out there all over the country doing very well in top positions, in [Ras Al Khaimah], Dubai, Ajman, Al Ain.”

Dr Hassan Galadari, an assistant professor of dermatology who trained and teaches at UAE University, said Emiratis would traditionally choose government universities for a variety of reasons.

“Historically, UAE nationals have preferred enrolling in UAE University. The school ranks high in research and teaching of its students. It has also established strong relationships with foreign medical schools for collaboration and student exchange.

“The other [medical] schools mainly target the expatriate population of the UAE,” said Dr Galadari.

“All are private and admission to some may be financially restrictive, but those schools are representative of the UAE general population. Nationals who usually enrol are those who are geographically closer to the institution and are able to afford it.

“Unlike expatriates, nationals tend to start a family earlier. This may actually affect them being enrolled in private schools as that may require them to take in loans.”