Toward Developing Health Strategy for the Gulf

  • 23 January 2014

The recommendations made at the concluding session of The First Arabian Gulf Public Health Research Conference ‘Interventions for a Healthier Future’, which was organized by the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) in cooperation with RTI International at Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Hall at The ECSSR office complex in Abu Dhabi on January 21–22, 2014, are highly significant, not only because they shed light on the close relationship between public health and the development process, but also because they help decision-makers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to forge a fully-integrated health strategy to address important health concerns. An effective GCC health framework could be drawn up eventually to serve GCC citizens in order to improve their lives and well-being.

This point was highlighted by His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth, and Community Development, who pointed out in the inaugural speech of the Conference that health and socio-economic planning were interrelated, and that any fully-integrated strategy should rest on four crucial factors:

First: Local, regional and global strategies are essential for dealing with chronic diseases and unique demographic groups.

Second: Quality at hospitals and health care units (HCU’s) needs to be ensured.

Third: Awareness and prevention are part and parcel of any plan to deal with chronic diseases.

Fourth: Improvement in individual and public roles is important for treating chronic diseases.

In his speech to the Conference, Director General of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) His Excellency Dr. Jamal Sanad Al Suwaidi, said that being in step with latest technological advancement and changes in Information Technology was an imperative in treating diseases, raising efficiency, improving health care services and optimizing the use of human resources in the health sector in order to provide best services and health care to our people.

Advanced health care has become a key constituent of human development and a benchmark for the quality of life offered to the community. This has been a top priority for the UAE’s wise leadership, whose directives have been crucial for adopting the latest techniques in order provide quality health care to the UAE citizens. A total of AED 3.7 billion has been allocated in the country’s health care budget for 2014, against AED 3.4 billion in 2013, which comprises an 8 percent increase.

For the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) to organize this specialized health conference and to showcase regional and international experiments in health care is a clear indicator of the ECSSR’s willingness to take part in forging GCC strategies that would build on the wise UAE leadership’s call to speed up joint Gulf action and achieve desired goals.