Healthcare is a growth sector in RAK, and the RAK Medical Zone, overseen by the UAE Ministry of Health, is developing modern, world-class healthcare facilities and services. Dr. Yasser Al Nuaimi, Director, explains, “All our policies and regulations are set by the UAE Ministry of Health, but we handle certain issues locally.”
The RAK Medical Zone includes four hospitals and 18 healthcare centres. Dr. Yasser Al Nuaimi says, “We have established primary healthcare centres dealing with special conditions like diabetes, hypertension and immunisations for children. We are all set with primary care, and now we are debating which hospitals should focus on primary care and which on secondary care. My goal is to create a well-established tertiary-care system as well, which is already happening with the new Sheikh Khalifa hospital. We are also focusing on promoting healthy lifestyles and on healthcare training at the university level.”
The new 250-bed Sheikh Khalifa hospital specialises in oncology, neurosurgery, cardiology and other specific fields. “We are optimistic that this hospital will save a good number of patients, not only in RAK but also in neighbouring emirates. In fact, we chose the location of this new hospital to ensure that it would be easily accessible to people in RAK and beyond,” Dr. Yasser Al Nuaimi says. Other projects include renovating Sham Hospital near the Omani border and building a major new hospital to offer under one roof the care currently provided at Saqr and Obaidulla hospitals.
More patients choosing to be treated in RAK
Thanks to recent improvements, more and more patients are choosing to be treated in RAK rather than travelling elsewhere. In fact, RAK’s number of repeat patients topped the one million mark last year. “We need to have more hospital beds to meet growing demand. Trust in our services has increased,” Dr. Yasser Al Nuaimi says proudly.
One challenge for the ministry is that former government policies allowed for medical insurance in RAK’s private healthcare sector but not in public healthcare, which caused many medical professionals to choose to work in private facilities where salaries were higher. To address the problem, the government has now allowed medical insurance in the public healthcare sector as well. RAK’s public health services have also been strongly supported by private industry, including by pharmaceuticals leader Julphar, RAK Ceramics, and a number of cement companies. Dr. Yasser Al Nuami explains, “Now that we are able to offer more competitive salaries, many doctors are coming back to RAK because they like the quality of life here.”
Medical and Health Sciences University
The RAK Medical and Health Sciences University is playing a key role in upgrading healthcare in RAK and beyond. Vice Chancellor Dr. S. Gurumadhva Rao explains, “The RAK Medical and Health Sciences University has state-of-the-art facilities which meet international standards. The campus offers all the required facilities to support its programmes, including an advanced library, laboratories, demonstration rooms, an auditorium, a gym and residence halls.”
“Now that we are able to offer more competitive salaries, many doctors are coming back to RAK because they like the quality of life here.”
The RAK Medical and Health Sciences University has a very international atmosphere and welcomes the chance to partner with global educational institutions and healthcare organisations, particularly in Europe. Dr. S. Gurumadhva Rao explains, “Our university has students from 41 countries all over the globe and we are proud to make sure it is a priority for us that everyone feels comfortable no matter which corner of the world they come from. The RAK Medical and Health Sciences University is open to collaboration with international universities, especially in Europe. We encourage students and universities across Europe to partner with us and see our quality facilities, highly skilled staff, and the pleasant atmosphere we have created here in RAK.”
RAK ideal location for educational institutions
Being located in RAK is a definite advantage for the RAK Medical and Health Sciences University, which benefits from the emirate’s easy access, very supportive leaders and high quality of life. As Dr. S. Gurumadhva Rao points out, “RAK provides students and their parents with a vital aspect when choosing education: safety in addition to quality. The location is close enough to large cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but has its own quiet atmosphere which is perfect for an educational environment.”
RAK’s healthcare sector has significant growth potential, Dr. Yasser Al Nuaimi believes. He says, “Other emirates have successfully brought in big-name foreign hospitals and the same thing can happen here in RAK. There is sufficient growth and demand. I want healthcare here in RAK to benchmark to the highest level of care in other countries.”