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Sharjah Healthcare

Presented with a growing and ageing population, the private sector is increasing its involvement in healthcare in the UAE, with the government's announcement in 2007 that the Ministry of Health (MoH) was relinquishing its traditional role as a healthcare provider and instead making the transition to a more regulatory role. International private healthcare providers currently operating around the globe, particularly in Asia, are likely to be among the first players to enter this new market leaving the UAE government able to concentrate its efforts on combating the threat of non-communicable diseases through a range of preventative measures such as blood screening and education programmes; Sharjah instituted a smoking ban in public places in 2008.

In 2006, Sharjah's population was served by five hospitals, 17 primary healthcare centres, two secondary healthcare centres with a combined 129 units, a further health facility with 15 units and a dental clinic with 11 units; this number is set to receive a boost with the allocation by the government of $95 million towards the building of a new 200-bed maternity hospital, the largest in the UAE, which will also house an $5.44 million open-heart surgery centre, located at the site of the existing 360-bed Al Qasimi Hospital. In a bid to attract staff, the newly formed Emirates Health Authority (EHA) initiated a set of programmes in August 2007 designed to make the public sector more attractive to workers, with salaries for physicians in Sharjah and the other Northern Emirates being brought into line with those of their counterparts in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and incentives such as free healthcare for family members being offered. Meanwhile compulsory health insurance for expatriate workers by their employers is expected to be introduced in Sharjah in 2009.





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