A Big Leap Towards Medical Tourism Filed on November 9, 2008

The Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) is all set to become an international hub for medical tourism in the near future, as all the major healthcare projects are nearing their completion dates, said Dr Ayesha Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Healthcare Planning and Quality at the DHCC.

The senior DHCC official shed light on the existing and upcoming projects at the DHCC, in an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times.

As the first healthcare free zone in the region, the DHCC was conceived with the objective of creating a regional centre of excellence for medical services, medical education and life sciences research and development in the Middle East.

DHCC is a conglomerate of medical teaching institutions, private hospitals and clinics, pharmaceutical offices and research centres, medical spas and rehabilitation centres. With residential villas, apartments, and 5-star hotels surrounding an artificial lake, it is perfectly designed to promote medical tourism. “With the work on Phase I almost complete and operational, the Phase 2 is also coming up with lots of similar projects,” she said.

“A major project under tahe Phase 2 is The Wellness Community. This community aims to position itself as the premier location for prevention, rejuvenation, integrative medicine, sports medicine and healthy living services in the region,” explained Dr Ayesha.

Regulated by the Centre for Healthcare Planning Quality (CPQ), the wellness cluster will include an integrative medicine centre that will solidify DHCC’s position as the leading destination for comprehensive health services through its fusion of both allopathic and complementary/alternative medicine using evidence based approach.

“Through this integration, DHCC’s Phase 1 will be the centre for cutting edge diagnosis and conventional clinical treatment modalities. Phase 2 will focus on the preventative and alternative medicine,” said Dr Ayesha.

“In this way, DHCC will be creating an environment where individuals will be treated holistically and can access care throughout the continuum, through preventative, disease management, health psychology, and other life enhancing services,” adds the expert.

Other developments planned in Phase 2 include three hotels, two wellness resorts and 1,100 residential apartments: These are developed to primarily cater to the needs of the physicians, healthcare professionals, and other individuals who will be working at DHCC and surrounding areas.

Besides, 43 healthcare development projects will contribute to attracting healthcare services such as pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, insurance companies, and other companies that will support the development and sustainability of the DHCC cluster.

Fifty clinical villas will be built to support the delivery of outpatient day surgery and other specialized healthcare services, while six hospitals of approximately 500 beds, will focus on rehabilitation and women’s specialties.

Another unique concept, the Dubai Medical Suites (DMS), have already opened to the public this summer. “Set to provide state-of-the-art ambulatory medical services, DMS provides a combination of the highest level of medical and surgical ambulatory services delivered by internationally and locally renowned physicians. The centre contains state-of-the-art clinical examination rooms, diagnostic services and operating theatres,” said Dr Ayesha.

DMS also features 20 fully equipped clinics, including doctors’ offices and examination rooms. In addition, there are six diagnostic rooms and four state-of-the-art operating theatres with four induction and 12 recovery beds as well as an ICU bed for emergency cases.

“As an outpatient diagnosis, treatment and surgery centre, DMS has a complete medical and administrative staff of full-time medical doctors, nurses, medical technicians and anaesthesiologists. DMS also provides government services (visa, licensing, etc) and relevant support services to the visiting patients and healthcare professional,” explained Dr Ayesha.

Currently, the DHCC’s Phase 1 houses 100 clinics and over 70 healthcare businesses, one operating hospital, a multi-specialty outpatient centre (Dr Suleiman Al Habib) while another hospital will be opening soon.

The hospitals/centres in Phase 1 are Mayo Clinic, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Dr Suleiman Al Habib Medical Centre, Johnson & Johnson, Astra Zeneca, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital, the German Medical Centre, Boston University Dental Health Centre among others.

Soon, the Harvard Medical School Dubai Centre (HMSDC), University Hospital, and the Dubai Bone & Joint Centre will relocate to DHCC for provision of healthcare in Phase 1.

The Boston University Dental Health Centre is currently operational from a temporary location within DHCC and is due to have its own building within the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Academic Medical Centre. The BU Dental Health Centre started its operation in early 2008.

To meet the demands of the expanding facilities, DHCC has approved over 160 healthcare operators/clinics up to date with over 70 operating facilities in different specialties.

In 2007, the Centre licensed around 300 physicians for Healthcare Planning and Quality and over 300 nurses and allied healthcare professionals.


Asma Ali Zain

Associated with KT for 15 years. Covers health issues, Pakistan community, human interest stories as well as general topics for daily news or features.

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