UAE: Sustainable practices a prime focus at healthcare groups in country

Entities involved in various social, charitable initiatives as well as greening projects



Reuters
Reuters
by

SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Fri 20 Jan 2023, 8:46 PM

Healthcare groups welcome the announcement of the 2023 as the Year of Sustainability by the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and believe this will bolster the incorporation of sustainable practices in hospitals and healthcare sectors.

The hospitals and healthcare leaders say they are always looking upstream and target reduction in the use of resources to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to the green initiative.

The announcement comes as the country gears up for the global climate summit COP28, which is set to be held at Expo City Dubai this year from November 30 to December 12.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines a Sustainable Healthcare System as a system improving, maintaining, or restoring health while minimising negative impacts on the environment and leveraging opportunities to restore and enhance it to the benefit of the health and well-being of current and future generations.

Welcoming the announcement, Dr Thumbay Moideen, founder president of Thumbay Group, said: “As a medical education and healthcare delivery group, we have always been focused on maintaining a durable, resilient and sustainable healthcare system to withstand ongoing environmental challenges.

“We also ran a pilot project of planting trees and were pleased to see that the initiative improved the environmental impact of our service as well as patient wellbeing and team working,” added Dr Moideen.

Many healthcare groups continue to invest in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives despite the unprecedented challenges brought on by the pandemic and have minimised the environmental impact of their operations, implementing dedicated site programmes to ensure greenhouse gas reduction and waste management.

Mark Adams, FRSA, CEO (Interim), NMC Healthcare said that in a health setting, social sustainability relates to the ability of hospitals and healthcare systems to enhance the quality of life and improve well-being in the community and that has been their primary focus,”

“We pioneered Sustainability Reporting in the region and started off the journey while issuing the first set of ESG reports in 2018 and 2019,” said Adams.

“Sustainability requires evaluating systems, including infrastructure and organisational practices, and implementing measures in line with proper budget planning as a healthcare facility needs to have reliable and resilient systems and processes from engineering to medical,” added Adams.

In line with sustainable practices, Aster Healthcare has integrated 10 UNSDGs (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals) into its ESG policies, which includes Climate Action. “We recently joined hands with 50 of the world’s largest corporations to sign the Action Declaration, an early voluntary commitment by companies to take steps toward aligning to emerging climate-policy engagement at the recently concluded COP27 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt,” said Dr Azad Moopen, founder chairman & managing director, Aster DM Healthcare

“Apart from the organisation level, we are deeply involved in the community connect through the Aster Volunteers programme in India, GCC, and African countries. To monitor and facilitate our ESG commitments, we are setting up a task-force to bring any issues to the topmost level for immediate action,” added Dr Moopen.

Welcoming the President's initiative, John Sunil, CEO of Burjeel Holdings, stated that the UAE attaches great importance in its development policy.to protecting the environment.

“Being a committed healthcare services provider, we continue our efforts to achieve bold sustainability goals, both environmentally and in delivering accessible healthcare and social programmes in our communities,” said Sunil.

“We focus on improving our communities in meaningful ways through Energy Conservation, Water Management, Waste Management, Reprocessing, and various social and charitable initiatives. We're immensely proud to support the UAE in achieving its national sustainability goals, ” added Sunil.

Dr Raza Siddiqui, executive director of RAK Hospital, highlighted integrating sustainability in business operations and striving for improvement in managing environmental impacts is the key to establishing sustainability in healthcare.

“Focus areas for achieving sustainability in healthcare include Increased well-being to encourage preventative health care, thereby reducing environmental impacts. Healthy buildings with more green spaces, more natural lighting, renewable energy, and recycled resources will be more resilient to climate change,” said Dr Siddiqui.

“Investment in technology will improve health system capability and capacity to support improved environmental and health outcomes. Demonstrating sustainability leadership will bring in opportunities to collaborate between public and private sectors, continue and enhance sustainability initiatives with outcomes and strive to achieve a reduced carbon footprint,” added Dr Siddiqui.

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