Dubai’s rapid urban development and ever-growing population have increased the demand on quality health services not only for its residents, but also for a high influx of medical tourists who trust Dubai’s world class hospitals and specialized centers to receive their treatments.
With its high-tech medical infrastructure and a rising number of public and private healthcare companies, Dubai is a major hub for the global healthcare industry, primed not only to serve the local market, but also wider regional demand.
Orthopedics, sports medicine, dermatology and skin care, dentistry and fertility treatment are currently among the top specialties for medical tourism in Dubai.
Current Healthcare Expenditure (CHE) in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is projected to reach US$104.6 billion in 2022. Dubai is ideally placed to tap into a UAE market which boasts an average of US$1,200 in healthcare spending per capita, placing the country in the world’s top 20.
Dubai is ideally placed to tap into a UAE market which boasts an average of US$1,200 in healthcare spending per capita, placing the country in the world’s Top 20.
It is now worth more than US$4.63 billion annually and includes 75 insurance companies that offer more than 12,000 insurance policies of various kinds and benefits.
The emergence of Dubai as a leader in healthcare provision is built on a number of health strategies put forward by the Dubai government over the last few decades, transforming the city into a global healthcare and healthtech hub, and positioning it as a medical tourist destination.
Advanced Medical Hubs and Knowledge Centers Driving the Transformation
The Dubai Health Strategy focuses on medical infrastructure development, private-public sector innovation, and medical tourism. The strategy development process involves a broad range of stakeholders from the Dubai health ecosystem including both the public and private sectors.
The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is the government entity overseeing the health system in Dubai and its free zones, with a strategic oversight for the complete health sector in Dubai and the enhancing of private sector engagement.
Dubai is now home to the world’s largest medical free zone, Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC), hosting 160 clinical partners including hospitals, outpatient medical centers and diagnostic laboratories across 150+ specialties with licensed professionals from almost 90 countries. The sector is also served by 28 private and six public-sector hospitals and medical centers.
In addition, Dubai Science Park (DSP) is the region’s first free zone serving the entire value chain of the science sector offering vital facilities including laboratories, warehouses for manufacturing and logistics centers for corporations from all over the world.
To further shape advancements and discoveries, it established the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medical University of Medicine and Health Sciences - a hub for healthcare education and knowledge - on an integrated platform that supports healthcare education, research and clinical practice with the aim of becoming a leading Medical and Health Sciences University.
This builds on globally recognized facilities based in the emirate, including the Dubai Harvard Foundation for Medical Research, as well as Al Jalila Foundation, a global philanthropic organization dedicated to transforming lives through medical education and research. Founded by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Al Jalila Foundation invests in the UAE’s medical treatment capabilities and provides scholarships to support ground-breaking research that addresses health challenges prevalent in the region.
Globally renowned hospitals, outpatient medical centers and diagnostic laboratories, such as Johns Hopkins associated hospital Clemenceau Medical Centre and Moorfields London have launched facilities in Dubai.
Innovation Meets Investment
Many of world’s largest hospitals and specialized centers have invested in Dubai’s healthcare sector, utilizing the city’s unique investment climate, offering several investment incentives in the healthcare sector.
The city's healthcare market is set to play a pivotal role in catapulting the Middle East and North Africa healthcare sector growth from US $144 billion in 2020 to $243 billion by 2023.
Dubai is a hub of medical and healthcare innovation, with billions of government R&D pumped into sectors such as customized medicine, gene pool testing, cosmetic procedures, and biomedical design.
Dubai plans to reduce pharmaceutical imports by 18% (from US$4 billion) and attract US$2.5 billion in pharmaceutical investments by 2022, with a focus on attracting manufacturing “Super Generics”, Nutraceuticals, 3D implants and Blood Plasma.
The market value of the city’s pharmaceutical industry is set to grow to US$6.8 billion by 2025 from US$2.6 billion currently.
Through the development of its knowledge economy, it is also developing as an R&D cradle for health-tech, precision medicine and biotechnology.
Artificial intelligence (AI), robotic surgeries, radiation surgery, advanced neuro and spinal options, 3D technology with in-dental services, complicated surgeries for prosthetic body parts and stem cell technologies are just some of the innovative technologies that Dubai has embraced to provide a new lease of life to patients.
Dubai also remain at the forefront of cities in the MENA region in attracting FDI.
In fact, FDI in Dubai-based AI and robotics companies is the highest in the world.
DHA launched an AI strategy to support its medical systems and equip medical personnel with technologies to use in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. The Dubai Diabetes Centre also recently completed a proof of concept project for the implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect diabetic retinopathy to revolutionize the way patients are screened, to offer cost effective and precision quality care.
This comes after Smart Dubai, the government entity tasked with leading the city’s smart transformation, has unveiled a new AI use case in the healthcare sector as part of its AI Lab initiative, conducted in collaboration with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), which seeks to harness AI to propose practical solutions, develop sophisticated services, and improve people’s lives.
The real estate market in Dubai is so abundant that it caters to both tenants and buyers’ different needs and demands, supported by flexible real estate regulations allowing UAE and GCC citizens to own properties anywhere in Dubai, as well as foreign expats to buy and lease their properties in specific areas in Dubai.
Individuals who wish to relocate to Dubai can find flexible visa options. UAE offers multi-year residencies for investors, students, professionals, remote workers and even retirees. Also, holders of a Dubai residency are eligible to sponsor their immediate family members.
Expats living in Dubai are encouraged to register their wills at Dubai Courts or the DIFC courts, as per the Law No. (15) of 2017 which was designed to regulate inheritance for non-Muslim over 21 years old residents in Dubai, to distribute their movable or immovable assets as per preference.
With an ever-growing population and thousands of foreign workers relocating to Dubai annually to expand their careers in a safe, cosmopolitan, and global trading hub, it is hard to miss why Dubai is a haven for real estate investment.