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Emirati women excel in health and education sectors in Dubai

Number of female Emirati doctors working in Dubai up 16% in just three years

  • A new state of the art laparoscopic operating theatre at Latifa Hospital will allow doctors to perform complicImage Credit: Courtesy: DHA
  • Arif Obaid Al MehairiImage Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News Archive
Gulf News

Dubai: The number of female Emirati doctors working in Dubai has increased by 16 per cent over the last three years (2013-2015), the latest report by the Dubai Statistics Centre (DSC) says.

The education and health sectors have both seen an increase in the number of Emirati women working as teachers, doctors, and nurses in comparison Emirati men.

Arif Al Muhairi, DSC Executive Director explained that Emirati women are making a big impact in the health sector. “The rate of Emirati female doctors increased from 388 in 2013 to 405 in 2014, and again in 2015 reaching 450 doctors,” he said.

He added that Emirati women accounted for 96.8 per cent of all Emiratis in the nursing profession in Dubai in 2015, while Emirati female teachers made up 96.7 per cent of all Emiratis in the teaching profession in the emirate in 2015-2016.

Referring to the gender gap between Emiratis in these sectors, Al Muhairi said this is so because women are more inclined to take up professions such as doctors, nurses and teachers that call for higher education and university degrees.

“There has been an increase in the number of Emirati women living in Dubai who have a university degree or higher education in different fields. This has enhanced the economic participation of women with the highest efficacy and skills required by the labour market,” said Al Muhairi.

Between 2014 and 2015, the gap between Emirati women and men who hold a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) or higher degree increased in favour of women, from one per cent to five per cent. The rate of unemployment among Emirati women decreased by 0.2 per cent during the same period.

Gulf News spoke to Abdullah Baluma, Head of Planning and Recruitment in the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), who confirmed the growing numbers of female Emirati doctors, paramedics, nurses and administrave staff joining the health sector in the UAE. “The overall number of women has increased sharply in recent years. Emirati women are handling high positions in the sector including head nurses, surgeons, and those working in administration,” he explained.

Baluma referred to the sponsorship programme offered by the DHA to encourage more Emiratis to study medicine. As part of the programme, deserving Emirati medical students will get a monthly allowance of Dh6,500 for medicine major and Dh5,500 for nursing and paramedic majors as an incentive to help them pursue their studies.

The DHA will provide sponsorship to 130 Emirati students selected each year to continue their higher education free of charge.

This programme ties in with the Dubai Health strategy and helps meet the goals of the National Health Agenda 2021.

Dr Sumaya Mohammad Al Beloushi, Director of the Nursing Department at the Ministry of Health and Prevention, confirmed the increase in the number of nurses in the health sector over the last few years. She referred to the initiative His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched to make the nursing vocation more appealing. “The initiative is in line with the UAE’s strategy and vision to improve the standard of health-care services and to enhance the nursing profession,” she said.

The initiative will introduce a programme to boost the number of qualified Emirati nursing cadres who are capable of providing exceptional health-care services. It will be implemented in cooperation with strategic education partners, health authorities, and media institutions.

“I am very passionate about my job and increasing the number of Emirati nurses in the medical sector. Here at the ministry, we tackle different activities to show the importance of the nursing profession,” said Al Beloushi, who has a PHD in nursing.

She pointed out that the ministry is also encouraging Emirati high school graduates to take up nursing by offering full scholarships for undergraduate studies in nursing. “The scholarships cover educational fees, transport, accommodation and a Dh4,500 for monthly personal expenses,” she added.

Al Beloushi advised young Emirati women to consider joining the nursing profession, pointing out that they have several options to continue higher education in the profession by specialising in different areas of health.

“I am happy to see even one person joining nursing a day. The community is well educated and I feel optimistic that, in the coming four years, the number of Emirati nurses will only increase. We want to prove ourselves to be the best by 2021, as nursing is included in the national agenda,” added Al Beloushi.