UAE to establish health insurance regulator
The establishment of a federal health insurance authority to regulate the industry across the United Arab Emirates has moved a step closer, it was confirmed at Arab Health – the Middle East’s largest gathering of medical professionals – which opened in Dubai yesterday (28 January 2008).
Arab Health – taking place until 31 January at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre which showcases the latest medical breakthroughs and technical developments from over 65 countries – was inaugurated by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. He visited several of the stands of the more than 2,200 exhibitors.
Progress on the establishment of a federal health insurance regulatory body was outlined yesterday by Dr Ajit K. Nagpal, former adviser to the UAE Ministry of Health and a member of an inter-ministerial committee on health insurance, taking part in the Health Insurance Forum, one of the 18 conferences that make up the Arab Health Conference – the world’s most comprehensive healthcare programme.
Compulsory health insurance for expats and their dependants began in Abu Dhabi, the federal capital of the UAE, this month and Dubai, the UAE’s biggest emirate in population terms, has established a steering committee with compulsory insurance expected to be introduced this year. Other emirates are expected to follow suit.
The introduction of a federal authority to regulate UAE standards in compulsory health insurance cover and diagnostics have been discussed for a number of years but current developments have gone further than previous attempts, Dr Nagpal said. “The proposals are now ready and they are seeking comments from the various emirates,” he added. Other ministries, such as justice, labour and health are also being consulted.
Arab Health, expected to break new records attracting 50,000 visitors from all over the world, was described yesterday by Humaid Al Qutami, the UAE Minister of Health, as “the greatest science gathering in the Middle East and the Arab world.” Al Qutami said it was the second largest healthcare exhibition worldwide.
“Arab Health is a world class medical and healthcare event where the latest medical technologies are revealed and healthcare achievements are address,” he added. “I am confident that all the expertise brought to Arab Health by the health industry and the scientists will benefit the development of the medical sector and health knowledge which will eventually serve entire humanity.”
Arab Health is organised by IIR Middle East and is biggest event of its kind in the region and is at the centre of one of the fastest growing and most lucrative healthcare markets in the world.
The event is supported by the UAE Ministry of Health, the Health Authority Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Health Authority. Leading sponsor is Dubai Healthcare City and the main corporate sponsor is UAE development company Emaar’s healthcare division.
The multi-track Arab Health Congress – encompassing 18 internationally accredited conferences in specialised areas of medicine, surgery and healthcare management with over 400 internationally respected speakers and more than 6,000 delegates – is the world’s largest event of its kind.
The Congress programme included Leaders in Health – sponsored by Siemens, Dubai Healthcare City, and the Cleveland Clinic – with an in-depth analysis of global and regional investment opportunities featuring high levels speakers from the World Bank, the US, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Iraq and the UAE.
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