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Dubai: Health check-ups can be expensive and not entirely covered in your health insurance plan. However, the best health hack is to keep an eye on the numerous free preventive health screening programmes that are launched round the year by different clinics and hospitals.

The benefit is not only having most of these ‘optional’ checks carried out with an assured quality, either free or at heavy discount but it will also help one keep tabs on one’s health on a more regular manner.

The best plan would be to keep an eye on these announcements that are usually done via social media or publications or on the websites of the health care group. Draw up a calendar on free check- ups for the month ahead. Put in a reminder on your phone to register for the event. Usually hospitals and clinics advertise a toll free number to register for the event. Once registered, arrive there early and get the test done.

This little hack can go a long way in flagging off problem areas in your health monitoring and also help you act well in time.

Here’s a list of forthcoming free and discounted health check-ups being held in clinics and hospitals in the UAE. Take your pick.

Free COVID-19 tests

A nurse holds a vial and a swab at a drive-up coronavirus testing station at a hospital in Seattle. Image Credit: AP

With the UAE’s ongoing efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, you can avail of a free COVID-19 test anywhere in the UAE, if you fall under the following categories:

• Emirati citizens and their domestic workers whether they exhibit symptoms or not

• People in high-risk categories such as pregnant women, elderly people, and those who have chronic diseases.

• People of determination

• residents over the age of 50

• Residents who are showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with positive cases

Sharjah residents can also expect a free COVID-19 test, with Sharjah Police sending SMS alerts to residents on the date and time of the test, which is expected to cover the entire emirate.

Breast cancer awareness month - October

File photo of Tawam Hospitals' mobile mammography van offering free screening to residents.

This is the best time to get a free breast cancer check-up. The UAE usually offers free screenings and clinical examinations to women all over the country with their travelling Pink Caravan. Many clinics will also be offering free breast cancer screenings. For more information, visit pinkcaravan.ae

Diabetes Awareness Month - November

November is Diabetes Awareness Month! World Diabetes Day (WDD) is celebrated globally on November 14 to raise awareness about both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Plenty of clinics all over the UAE will be offering free diabetes tests, which residents can take part in.

International Day of Health – April 7

On this day, you can usually expect to get free blood sugar and blood pressure checks at health centres, medical districts, shopping malls and other sites across Dubai and the northern emirates, as the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) celebrates World Health Day. You can also have your body mass index (BMI) evaluated at these screening spots. Besides the medical examinations, the ministry usually organises educational activities and other events to mark the International Day of Health.

Free pre-natal sessions

BC Pregnancy during Covid-19
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Most hospitals across the UAE offer free pre-natal and post-natal consultations to patients who have registered with them for child-birth packages. Take advantage of the free support sessions, to manage your pregnancy in a more informed manner.

Free cardiac check-up

Zulekha Hospital in Dubai and Sharjah is offering free registration, consultation and ECG.

Free bariatric surgery consultation

Several hospitals in the UAE offer free consultation and body composition analysis for bariatric surgery.

Free Second Opinion - all year round

Zulekha Hospitals also offer free second opinion consultations all year round.

Free Lasik Surgery consultation

Zulekha Hospitals are currently offering free registration, consultation, lasik examination, refraction test, corneal topography and retinal examination for lasik surgery.

Discounted mental health support

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Zulekha Hospital, Sharjah, has a Happy Minds campaign, which offers consultation with a psychiatrist or psychologist and four counselling sessions for Dh750.

Discounted immunity checks for children

NMC Al Zahra Hospital in Sharjah is offering discounted immunity checks for children, with them staying indoors for long periods of time during the COVID-19 restrictions. For Dh150, you can get your child tested for calcium, Vitamin D deficiency, get their blood test and a urine analysis, as well as a consultation with a paediatrician.

Discounted diabetes check-up

For Dh150, NMC Al Zahra Hospital in Sharjah is offering 18 blood tests and consultation from

- With inputs from Huda Tabrez, Senior News Editor