Health A-Z

Using the Healthcare System in the UAE

UAE is not only economically stable, but it has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. The government aims to create a world-class healthcare system, and as a result, this sector has advanced over the years.

According to the World Health Organization, 1/3 of the adults in the UAE are obese, and 1 out of 5 has diabetes. These incidences associated with lifestyle diseases continue to increase because of high income. This means that people need a better healthcare system.

UAE Healthcare System

UAE healthcare system thrives because of government support; for instance, the government launched health insurance in 2015 in Dubai. This was to support nationals who were not covered under any government-funded health insurance scheme.

In 2016, the Dubai Health Authority announced that all residents were to be covered by health insurance, which was to be tied to the renewal of their residence visas. The UAE healthcare system is on the frontline to becoming an import driven market when it comes to medical devices.

Using the UAE Healthcare System

The United Arab Emirates has a modern healthcare system that offers quality services in both the private and public sectors. Below are ways you can access the UAE healthcare system:

Public Health

Public health centers in the UAE offer high-quality care and services. Public hospitals are streamlined and dedicated to the needs of their patients, and the staff is friendly. The numbers of healthcare providers and hospital beds have increased over the years. The UAE healthcare system is effective, accessible, and integrated thanks to the government. The Emirates aims to improve the quality of services and to protect public health.

The government has strategic plans to ensure that all citizens have access to health services, maintain the quality of these services, improve the health status of the residents, and to oversee a progressive, successful, and innovative health sector. Several Emirates such as Dubai has Dubai Health Authority that oversees services provided by DHA healthcare facilities. For instance, hospitals, specialty centers, and DHA primary health centers.

Private Healthcare

The UAE healthcare system has seen a major shift over the years, and there are now more private hospitals compared to public ones. Quality medical care is available at all private clinics and hospitals.

The health workers are highly-trained, mostly expatriate, and are fluent in English.  What you need to know is that private health facilities do not always treat major trauma, complex emergencies, and certain pathologies. In some Emirates like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the law requires expats to have private health insurance.

Many people prefer private health facilities because they are less congested. Also, the charges are almost the same in government hospitals. The maternity services offered by private health facilities come with other packages. However, in government facilities, you have to pay for additional services.


It is easy to find pharmacies in the UAE, and most are open 24/7. Medicines such as cough medicine and painkillers are readily available even from the supermarket. You can get many medicines even without a prescription; for instance, you can get antibiotics from any pharmacy.

The UAE healthcare system is sophisticated, which means that you cannot get all medicines without a prescription. The UAE has strict laws when it comes to drugs; for instance, you cannot export, import, sell, or buy psychotropic substances or narcotics unless under supervision by the right authority. The government ensures that controlled medicines are not easily available to people. This is because controlled drugs can cause addiction, which leads to abuse by the user. These medicines can only be administered to patients with acute and chronic ailments according to modern medical practice. Most of the medications used worldwide are easily available in hospitals and pharmacies in the UAE.

Health Risks

The UAE healthcare system is concerned with dealing with the major health risks which are caused by extreme heat. Heatstroke and dehydration are common, especially if you are used to a cooler environment. The dust and sand from the desert and regular construction also cause health consequences. If you have any respiratory conditions it is advisable to remain indoors, especially when it very hot.

There are also health concerns on UAE women, especially obesity and vitamin D deficiency. These problems are among the top issues that affect women reproductive health. The UAE healthcare system aims to spread awareness to women on how to avoid these illnesses.

Most health conditions that affect both men and women can be prevented through lifestyle changes such as healthy diets and exercising. However, men often ignore the signs and hesitate to seek treatment.

Some of the conditions affecting most men include benign prostatic hyperplasia. This is a common condition in males as they age, and being overweight is one of the risk factors. The accumulation of excess fat changes the hormonal levels. Another common condition is type 2 diabetes, which is caused by poor diet, lack of exercise, and excess body weight.

Emergency Services

The UAE healthcare system is well-equipped to handle any medical emergencies. You can call 998 from any location in the UAE, and an air ambulance might be sent to pick the patient. UAE health facilities can handle all medical emergencies. In case of an emergency, the hospitals accept all patients for initial treatment and make transfers to other hospitals with better equipment to handle the situation.

The UAE provides quality healthcare for both the citizens and visitors from public and private hospitals. In case of medical emergencies, treatment to stabilize the situation is free. The emergency system in the UAE is to provide the best physical, social, and psychological support to their customers. They provide these services with the diversity and multicultural communities in mind. You can get health care for injuries and trauma for people of all ages 20 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The UAE healthcare system is modern, sophisticated, and provides quality care and services to the citizens and visitors. Both the private and public hospitals have modern equipment, high-qualified and certified physicians, and maintain high levels of cleanliness.

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