Dubai medical tourism attracts over half-a-million people

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Dubai medical tourism attracts over half-a-million people

Dubai - DHA is focusing on seven specific areas to attract medical tourists

By Bernd Debusmann Jr.

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Published: Sat 30 Apr 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 1 May 2016, 9:33 AM

 Dubai is already more than halfway to achieving its goal of hosting half a million medical tourists a year by 2020, according to Dr Layla Al Marzouqi, Director of Health Regulation and Dubai Medical Tourism Project.
The 'Dubai, a Global Destination for Medical Tourism' project was officially launched in April by Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council.
Speaking to Khaleej Times at the Arabian Travel Market, Dr Al Mazrouqi said the strategy has already achieved almost half of its intended target.
"Last year, more than 630,000 people came to Dubai for treatment," she said.
"Out of these, around 300,000 - or about 47 per cent - of the total number came from outside of the UAE." This statistics, she noted, was drawn from only 26 health care facilities in Dubai.
She added that other health care facilities in the emirate are being trained to collect data to provide a more comprehensive picture of the actual number of medical tourists that come for treatment.
"We have 2,780 health care facilities, and we're training them to come on board with us and to collect data," she said, adding that "this number (of medical tourists) will increase in 2016." To facilitate the 'Dubai Health Experience' (DXH), the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has recently launched a first-of-its kind website that gives potential health tourists with the necessary information to plan their journey to Dubai and their treatment in the emirate.
"It's a comprehensive website that has everything you need as a medical tourist to come to Dubai, such as medical packages and information about medical tourist insurance or medical tourist visas," Dr Al Mazrouqi said.
"You can also book trips through Emirates, see some hotel possibilities, and learn about patient rights and responsibilities."
Additionally, the DHA has unveiled an android app that can be used to search for doctors, facilities and health care packages, and find the locations of various facilities.
DHA is focusing on seven specific areas to attract medical tourists: orthopedics, ophthalmology, assisted reproductive techniques, dermatology, bariatric and weight-loss surgeries, plastic surgeries and dental care.
"With these seven packages, we're targeting specific markets, like the GCC and Africa," Dr Al Mazrouqi noted.
"Our first stage is the GCC, and we're already having a lot of people coming from the GCC for treatment in Dubai, but we're looking to enhance that number and increase it."
Dr Al Mazrouqi said that Dubai's unique selling point as a medical tourism destination is the high quality of care available, and the experience of being in Dubai itself.
"We concentrate on the experience of the patient and the quality of care," she said.
"We don't compete on price, because here in Dubai they can have good leisure and good medicine at the same time."

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