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Dubai offers one-stop-shop, high-quality, patient-centred wellness industry


Dubai. Photo: vietnamdhtravel

Dubai. Photo: vietnamdhtravel

The Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) has promised to meet the global demand for one-stop-shop for high-quality, patient-centred healthcare, while attracting tourists to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), for medical services and treatment.

The DHCC in a statement by the Chief Investment Officer, Dubai Healthcare City Authority, Imran Sheikh, beckoned on health practitioners from all over the world to take advantage of its numerous offerings including a wide range of services in healthcare, medical education and research, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, wellness and allied support.

Sheikh said the DHCC, which was launched in 2002 prides itself on attracting the best-in-class healthcare providers and professionals across more than 300 specialties in secondary and tertiary care including oncology, paediatric, orthopaedics, kidney transplantation and mental health and innovative platforms like tele-health and instant appointment booking, positioning Dubai as a preferred healthcare investment destination.


According to Sheikh, the backbone of Dubai’s healthcare model is an independent regulatory body whose standards are accredited by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua), a global leader in accreditation.“Setting up a business is done through Masaar, an e-services portal (, the first-of-its-kind e-services system in the UAE that combines clinical and commercial activities, and is integrated with government and non-government agencies. This one-stop-shop approach for all services gives investors in our target markets a seamless experience along with the benefits of 100 per cent company ownership couple with DHCC’s initiatives like reduced clinical operating permit fees to facilitate ease of doing business,” he explained.

According to information on the City’s website, DHCC comprises two phases. The first, which is dedicated to healthcare and medical education covers 4.1 million square feet, while the second phase, which is under development, is dedicated to wellness and occupies 22 million square feet in Al Jadaf, overlooking the historic Dubai Creek. With the aim of positioning itself as the destination of world-class healthcare, the City boasts of about 160 clinical partners including hospitals, outpatient medical centres and diagnostic laboratories across 150 plus specialties with licensed professionals from almost 90 countries, strengthening its medical tourism portfolio.

On how prospective investors can set up in Dubai Healthcare City, Sheikh said that the first, and most important step, is to select the premise for their operations. Following that, they can then apply for provisional approvals through Masaar, and then submit the required documents for commercial licensing. Once the commercial license is issued, the next step will be to apply for the operating permit.

“A key indicator of growth in the health sector in Dubai is that the emirate has one of the highest physician-to-population ratios in the world – 2.9 doctors for every 1,000 residents. In our Phase 2 expansion, we are completing the continuum of care by developing a wellness destination to encourage healthy living with offerings of wellness centres, resorts, parks, as well as residential, retail, hospitality and leisure components,” he said.

Representing its network of support partners, close to 200 retail and non-clinical facilities serve the free zone.Citing industry figures, Sheikh added that wellness tourism expenditures are projected for MENA (Middle East-North Africa) in US billions from 10.7 in 2017 to 18.7 in 2022. Backed by increasing investor interest, DHCC is looking at strengthening its wellness portfolio through partnerships.

“Current projects in Phase 2 include Clemenceau Medical Centre and WorldCare Wellness Centre, part of MAG Creek Wellbeing Resort. In Phase 1 of Dubai Healthcare City, which has over 160 clinical facilities including hospitals and specialized clinics, we leverage our free zone status to attract reputed regional and global names such as Mediclinic City Hospital and its Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Dr. Sulaiman Al Habib Hospital; and industry names including Johnson & Johnson and Cochlear Middle East (regional headquarters),” he said.

The UAE’s political, economic, social and security along with its entrepreneurship environment, especially in economic free zones, continue to attract foreign direct investment and innovations across industries including healthcare.In that light, the Dubai Healthcare City free zone encourages both branches of established global and regional companies as well as start-ups.

“Entrepreneurs offering services such as medical tourism services, travel agencies, tour services, restaurants and cafés are encouraged and supported in the free zone along with clinical partners. As of 2018, there are more than 250 non-clinical facilities operating in DHCC of which 43 per cent are service providers,” Sheikh revealed.


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