HEALTHCARE AND WELLNESS DESTINATION

Dubai 2018 | HEALTH | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Dr. Ramadan AlBlooshi, CEO of Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Regulatory (DHCR), on the achievements of the DHCC, its competitive edges, and its efforts to boost medical tourism.

Dr. Ramadan AlBlooshi
BIOGRAPHY
Dr. Ramadan AlBlooshi is CEO of DHCR, the independent regulatory arm of Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCA), the governing body of Dubai Healthcare City Free Zone. DHCR is responsible for the licensure of all healthcare professionals and healthcare operators and setting and maintaining international best practice in healthcare delivery and patient care within the free zone.

What kinds of companies have settled in Dubai Healthcare City?

Since its launch in 2002 by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, Dubai Healthcare City has aspired to achieve its vision of becoming an internationally recognized destination for quality healthcare and wellness. DHCC is home to more than 400 clinical and non-clinical facilities as well as medical education institutions. DHCC Phase I, occupying an area of 4 million sqft, is home to the Mohammed bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU), which has become a pioneer in the UAE's medical and higher education fields. Phase I is also home to three general hospitals, including the free zone's first digital hospital, Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Hospital and the Emirates Specialty Hospital. Dubai's most advanced facility for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, Mediclinic City Hospital's Comprehensive Cancer Centre, is also operating out of DHCC Phase I. In addition, the free zone is home to Al Jalila Children's Specialty Hospital, the first dedicated children's hospital in the UAE, and to regional headquarters of multinational companies. In Phase II, a 17-million sqft area is dedicated to wellness and preventive medicine. The masterplan for Phase II incorporates specialized health and wellness facilities, residences, retail, hospitality, and leisure components. To date, we have over 40% of the masterplan dedicated to committed projects. The Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai (SISD), Dubai's first-ever private school to offer multilingual education is already operating out of Phase II.

What advantages do you offer to the companies that settle in DHCC Free Zone?

The reasons we are able to attract regional and multinational medical and pharmaceutical companies to DHCC Free Zone are that transactions are easy and cost effective. We have 100% freehold benefits here at DHCC. Our one-stop shop gives us a competitive edge. We are able to manage all transactions around setting up a company. You can get your medical and commercial licenses from DHCR, do your medical fitness test for your visa, and get your national ID here. Entities that set up in DHCC do not need to visit any other government body separately to get approvals. This makes the process much faster, easier, and more convenient, which is why it attracts more business.

How do you intend to attract more medical tourists to Dubai?

There are many approaches to attracting medical tourists. One is a price mix theory, which offers treatment at a low cost, which attracts patients. The second school of thought is to provide the best quality treatment to attract medical tourists. Others go for a niche strategy, targeting patients from specific countries. Another strategy is developing a culture of medical tourism. This makes patients feel welcome and relaxed, and they go home feeling better. All of these different strategies have proved to be successful. The Dubai government has decided to adopt a mixture of these approaches. In DHCC, we are looking to strengthen quality care with a focus on certain specialties. For example, we have Dubai's most advanced facility for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, Mediclinic City Hospital's Comprehensive Cancer Centre and ophthalmology services provided by renowned providers such as Moorfields Eye Hospital. We also have several diabetes and wellness treatments here.

What are your plans for 2018?

We are focusing on Phase II of DHCC on the concept of wellness and preventive medicine. We are bringing more investors in now to work on developing wellness offerings. We are also focusing on children's and elderly healthcare. To some extent we also want to work on the different elements of rehabilitation. Development in Phase II for its first general hospital—the Clemenceau Medical Center—is underway and will expand our range of specialized care. The upcoming 110-bed hospital will have advances such as robotic surgery and wide-ranging inpatient and outpatient services.