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Challenges facing the UAE HCS
No doubt that every society faces many challenges that affect the country's social, economical and development. Most of these challenges affect the health care system; such of these challenges are the chronic diseases, poverty, pollution, HIV/AIDS, cancer, aging population and others more. No body can deny that these challenges affect every country in all over the world but in my essay I will mention only the main challenges that affect the health care system in the United Arab Emirates. Before I begin mentioning the challenges, lets take an over view of the health care system in the country and how it developed dramatically in the last few years. For instant, the infant mortality decreased from 10.1 to 8.71 per 1000 birth child between 1995 and 2004.1 Other studies show that the causes of death are cardiovascular diseases, accident and poisoning, tumours for these percentages 20.2%, 16%, 6.3% respectively.2 And as shown in the previous statistics that the main cause of death is cardiovascular diseases, and most of the national population suffer from them, that make them the hugest challenges that the country ever face. There are many other challenges rather than the chronic diseases such as the lack of the human resources and the health care services.
Chronic diseases are the diseases attached to the person for a long time ( long term diseases ) and generally it couldn't be cured.3 These diseases were present from along time, but they increased in the last few years. Some examples of the chronic diseases are the heart diseases, diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure). What lead these diseases to become a big challenge to face, is that they could present in one person at the same time. Sure it may not be cured but at least their complications could be reduced. One example of the chronic diseases that consider a big problem is the heart disease, as some studies indicate that when we compare the mortality related to the heart diseases between the UAE and the Gulf country we realize that mortality rate increase in the UAE five times more than the Gulf countries.4 To assure the danger of the heart diseases, some studies showed that their percentage of causing death is more than the percentage of HIV/AIDS, cancer and malaria.5 The diabetes is one of the most serious disease because it can lead to many other diseases and complications such as blindness, kidney failure, heart problems which cost the government millions of dirhams.6 Hypertension or high blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular diseases (CVD). And as I mentioned before, these diseases increased sharply for the last few years and the reason is because of the discovery of the oil (cars are more available, people depend more on the housekeepers and people sit most of their time in front of the television).7
I think that the lacking of the local doctors in the UAE and increasing the reliance on the doctors from other countries lead to serious problem to face. And why it consider a huge problem is because when the country bring doctors from other countries it costs a lot, other thing is that it may cause safety problems, for example; the majority of the crimes in the country is committed by foreigners. Other thing is that it takes more time to employ them, because they have to hand their qualification to the Ministry of Health before they begin working, and the Ministry of Health takes more time when they deal with the foreigners. Other thing is the problem of the language, one example of my sister's experience that she found it difficult to communicate with her doctor because of the language differences, that lead the doctor to use a nurse as a translator, then she doesn't feel comfortable. Other problem is the lack of female doctors, because as we are locals our traditions make it hard for the women to work as a doctor because the women can't work after midnight, and that make it a large challenge that face the health care system especially in the Arab countries, because as we know that some female patient prefer to be treated by a female doctors.
In this paragraph I will discuss the services which are provided by the country, I will talk about the lack of the teaching hospitals. No doubt that there are many universities that teach medicine in the country but the only public university is the United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain, what makes it such a problem for non Al Ain residents, and this was one of my own problems, some of us can deal with it but others find it difficult so they change the university then the country will lose doctors which the country really need them, other reason for the lack of medical college is the lack of encouragement and community participation because they discourage the medical college to enhance, extend and develop. One other thing that is considered one of the challenging is the lack of specializations in the country, as we see in the faculty of medicine in United Arab Emirates University there are only five specializations and a lot of students are not satisfied, that lead them to travel abroad to specialize, and as we know some of them will not come back to the country and decide to live there because as we know foreign countries provide a lot of facilities for them, so the country will lose a doctor that it teaches him many years.
To summarize, there are many challenges facing the health care system in the UAE, such as the chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and hypertension, which cost the country a lot and this decrease the quality of the health care system. Other one is the human resources, for example the lack of local doctors and female doctors, which we have to increase the number to satisfy the local and the females. One more is the services like the lack of teaching hospitals and specializations, which consider one of the causes of the country's losing. If the UAE begins to think critically they may find solutions. Such as they may increase the number of the education campaigns about how to reduce or prevent the chronic diseases. If we want to increase the quality of services of teaching hospitals we have to increase the social and economical justice when we use them.
- Ministry of Health. Registered biostatistics in UAE (95-2004). http://www.moh.gov.ae/AdminCP/AssetsManager/Files/Statistics/Statistics_2004/images/pdf/001.pdf (accessed 28/10/08).
- World Health Organization. Perspective on the health care system of the United Arab Emirates. http://www.emro.who.int/Publications/Emhj/0501/22.htm (accessed 20/10/08).
- Medicine net. The chronic diseases. http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=33490 (accessed 25/10/08)
- The ultimate middle east business resources. Heart disease strikes earlier in the UAE. http://www.ameinfo.com/171431.html ( accessed 20/10/08).
- World heart federation. Go red for women. http://www.world-heart-federation.org/what-we-do/go-red-for-women/ (accessed 23/10/08).
- El-Sharkawy T. Diabetes in the United Arab Emirates and Other Arab Countries: Need for Epidemiological and Genetic Studies.p75. http://www.cags.org.ae/cbc07db.pdf (accessed 27/10/08).
- Sabri S, Bener A, Eapen V, Abu Zeid M.S.O., AlMazrouei A.M., Singh J. Some risk factors for hypertension in the United Arab Emirates. 2004;10:610-619. http://www.emro.who.int/Publications/Emhj/1004_5/Some.htm (accessed 23/10/08).