When health services were in most rudimentary form

DUBAI — The development of health and medicare services in the country has not only seen a bewildering range of hospitals and research institutes taking shape, but is also marked by a steadily rising quality of treatment, catering to the young and steadily growing population, many of whom are poised to join the mainstream of the workforce.

By N. Srinivasan

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Published: Sat 7 Jan 2006, 10:58 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 6:53 PM

Taking a trip down the memory lane, Dr S.K. Setty, who set foot in the capital city in 1981 as a young medical practitioner, said that in those days there were reservations among members of his tribe that their professional skills may rust for want of scope to pursue higher studies and carry out research.

"But things changed dramatically in a short span of time; and today, we have access to a bewildering range of seminars, international conferences, telemedicine and the state-of-the-art technology in the UAE, that is the envy of developed nations," he said.

Acquiring a licence to practise or set up one's own clinic was not that surmounting a task as it is today, for all one had to go through was an interview with no written examinations, he recalled. He had no problems in setting up his own Al Naseem Orthopaedic Clinic in 1985.

The number of patients visiting private clinics has declined as recourse to treatment is available in the numerous hospitals that have come up in the cities as well as the outskirts and far-flung rural pockets, all over the country.

"Two decades ago, we had only the Central Hospital and health services were rudimentary, where patients would prefer personal attention from a qualified private practitioner. Pharmacies were also few and many people would bring some popular brand of medicines when they returned from their home countries after vacation.

The ailments remain much the same, the common complaints being allergies, back pain and viral infections, although the incidence of heat-related maladies such as sunstroke and physical exhaustion, was much higher. The climate has given way to cooler climes, thanks to the afforestation programmes and lungspaces such as parks and public gardens, he reasoned.

Dr Setty has also taken keen interest in social-cultural activities and founded the Telugu Seva Samithi, an outfit comprising community members from his southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The organisation, however, went defunct and he is now initiating efforts to reactivate it. Signs of its rejuvenation came with the hosting of a well-attended function last week to felicitate the minister of finance and health from the state, K. Rosaiah. He is also initiating moves to form a group under the banner Society of Unfortunate Lives (SOUL) that will reach out to the Telugu community in distress and indigent circumstances.

"There are some 25,000 Telugus living in Abu Dhabi and over 60,000 in the country and many of them are poor construction workers who need help and assistance in a variety of ways," said Dr Setty who hails from Kadapa district.

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