The readiness of the UAE’s health sector and its success in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic will contribute to effectively accelerating the recovery of the health tourism sector, said a high-level official.

Mohamed Al Mheiri, Director of Health Tourism Department at the DHA, said that all concerned stakeholders are taking preventive measures to enhance the safety and well-being of the community and maintain health security.

He highlighted the fact that the UAE has ranked number one in the Middle East region and 14th globally in terms of COVID-19 handling, according to a survey released by UK’s Global Soft Power Index. The survey ranked 105 countries in the world based on the assessment of tens of thousands of people.

He said this would help reinforce the confidence of international health tourists to visit the UAE.

Al Mheiri highlighted the second medical opinion (SMO) initiative.

Patients with disorders across seven specialities can get a free second medical opinion (SMO) or diagnosis from doctors in Dubai under this initiative.

The online-only feature is available only across seven specialities, including gynaecology, cardiology, orthopaedics, IVF and fertility treatments, neurology, oncology, and urology.

The service is facilitated by the DHA’s Health Tourism Department.

DXH group members who are highly qualified and recognised in their medical field provide the second medical opinion.

Al Mheiri said that the second opinions are provided within a turnaround time of two working days once the complete reports including the existing medical reports and diagnosis are provided.

He added that medical records are only shared only with the specialist concerned, making patient details completely confidential.

To opt for the Second Opinion online, patients need to follow some simple steps: Register on the website Select the listed medical provider/speciality in Dubai for a second opinion Request for a second medical opinion from leading doctors and specialities by completing the DXH SMO request form Al Mheiri said that the Emirate of Dubai maintained its advanced position as the first Arab destination for medical tourism for the second year in a row, based on the “International Medical Tourism Index” recently issued by the “International Health Care Research Centre” (IHRC).

In terms of numbers, in 2019, Dubai achieved growth in the number of health tourists by four per cent compared to 2018, with a total of 350,118 health tourists, while their total expenditure on health care services was approximately AED727 million, he pointed out.

Al Mheiri pointed to the qualitative shift achieved by the health tourism sector in Dubai since 2014 since the adoption of the Dubai Health Tourism Strategy, which was approved by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council.

He said that the DHA continues to receive applications for professional licences and investment in the health sector in Dubai despite the exceptional circumstances in the world.

The Dubai Health Authority’s Health Regulation Sector has received approximately 6,681 new requests for a DHA healthcare professional licence since the beginning of the year. This brings the number in Dubai to approximately 39,000.

In terms of health facilities, there are approximately 3,400 licenced facilities and 237 licences were newly issued in Dubai. These include 77 outpatient clinics, one hospital, one-day surgery centre, 71 pharmacies and 13 rehabilitation centres.

The complete process was electronic using the Sheryan system for licencing.

Source: Emirates News Agency

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