Dubai: The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has carried out a comprehensive needs assessment for better opthamological care and cancer care in Dubai.
Dr Mohammad Wasif Alam, Director of Public Health and Safety Department at the DHA, said: “Before we start any programme or initiative or even develop a policy, we need to understand if it is needed or already in place from the private sector, so that duplication is avoided. This is called doing a situational analysis. However, it may not give enough information due to lack of data available, therefore [our] department goes one-step further and we do [a] needs assessment. Needs assessment is a combination of quantitative study [data analysis] and qualitative study [focus groups, talking to experts in the area of their expertise].”
Dr Wasif Alam said that the DHA’s Public Health and Safety Department (PHSD) has done three needs assessments in the past two years.
He added: “Each assessment is extremely comprehensive and contains over 200 pages of data analysis, data modelling and forecast with recommendations for improving the services after an in-depth analysis and after internationally benchmarking the services available in the emirate.”
In 2016, the department had carried out the Mental Health Needs Assessment, which was referenced by Ministry of Health and Prevention for developing the national Mental Health Policy and may be used in developing any mental health strategy or policy or programme for Dubai.
In 2017, the PHSD conducted two other need assessments to gauge two important health topics: eye health and cancer care in Dubai.
Elaborating on the project, Dr Wasif Alam said: “The needs assessment of eye health outlined the recommendations and appropriate practices needed for better eye health in Dubai. It gives a detailed overview of what is being practised and what obstacles need to be tackled to cater the needs of the residents of Dubai as well as encourage medical tourism. This work was recently completed in close collaboration with Noor Dubai Foundation and Primary Healthcare Services Sector (PHCS) at the DHA.”
In addition to that, PHSD started in mid-2017 a cancer needs assessment, a study focused on the qualitative approach by meeting key experts from different sectors such as Dubai hospital, PHCSS, the private health sector and others. The results and recommendations of this study are expected to be filed in the first quarter of the year.
Dr Wasif Alam said: “The eye health and cancer needs assessment studies may help in setting the baseline targets and may be repeated in the next two-three years to assess changes or improvements in the services provided in eye health and cancer care.”