The UAE Improves Healthcare for the Elderly

The UAE has taken steps to ensure that the elderly are provided with the best medical care and quality of life through proactive plans that focus on full preparedness for their needs. This is one of the key priorities of the wise leadership, who have directed all public institutions to find flexible and feasible solutions to the challenges faced by the elderly. The Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre (ADPHC), under the supervision of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, has therefore announced a plan to operate a fleet of mobile clinics to improve access to healthcare for the elderly and those with chronic diseases. The mobile clinics will provide them with medical care and carry out the routine examinations and check-up services they need. These mobile clinics improve convenience and quality of life for the elderly and those with chronic conditions, but also reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection and the serious health complications that may result from it.

This is the latest step in the health care program for elderly citizens and residents, and those suffering from chronic diseases, which at the outset of the pandemic highlighted the risk, for the elderly, of coming into close contact with others. Steps were taken to limit their exposure to key places that could be a source of infection, such as hospitals and health institutions. Through the provision of mobile clinics, older citizens and residents have thus been assisted in staying at home during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to these benefits, the program also seeks to provide health awareness to these two groups on how to benefit from the mobile care system and communicate safely with concerned health authorities. Staff have also been trained on ways to follow up on the health status of the beneficiaries of the program, taking rapid measures that ensure the provision of complete healthcare in the event of suspected or confirmed infection.

The Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre was established on May 20, 2015, with the aim of promoting public health and preventive healthcare, and to set standards for these areas in accordance with global best practices. More specifically, one of the tasks of the ADPHC was to participate in emergency response operations to epidemics, natural disasters, and chemical, radiation and nuclear pollution, in coordination with relevant authorities. As a result, when the threat of COVID-19 emerged at the beginning of this year, the ADPHC was at the highest level of readiness to carry out its role.

These latest steps in the provision of world-class healthcare are part of a wider network of support given to the elderly in the UAE. The wise leadership, and UAE society as a whole, hold the elderly in high regard and teach children to revere them, based on the Islamic tradition of respect for elders, which is firmly rooted in Emirati culture. This is demonstrated by the directive from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai (may God protect him) to use the term ‘senior citizens’, instead of ‘elderly’, out of respect. In addition, the UAE Cabinet on October 21, 2018 approved the ‘National Policy for Senior Emiratis’. The policy has seven areas of focus; healthcare, community involvement and active lifestyles, effective civic participation, infrastructure and transportation, financial stability, safety and security, and future quality of life.

This latest step, providing mobile clinics to serve the elderly and those with chronic diseases, is an important affirmation of the right to equal care for senior citizens and those with chronic diseases, both Emiratis and residents alike, without any discrimination. This reflects the values of the UAE as a whole, which from the moment of its foundation, believed in the right of all human beings to a decent life, building this policy on humanitarian principles and the highest moral values.