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The report for Health Accounts System for the Emirate of Dubai details the strength and dynamism of the healthcare insurance system. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Dubai’s healthcare economic approach implemented by Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has come in for high international praise.

The accolades, from entities include Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Bank and University of Hong Kong, are in response to Dubai’s tenth edition of the report for Health Accounts System for the Emirate of Dubai (HASD).

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The report details the strength and dynamism of the healthcare insurance system, its service sustainability, development and growth in substantial healthcare spending.

According to the report, healthcare expenditure in the region reached Dh21.4 billion in 2022.

Sameh El-Saharty, Lead Health Policy Specialist, MENA region at The World Bank stated that Dubai was the first to establish a national healthcare accounting system in 2012 at the emirate level, not only within the cities of the GCC but also across the Middle East and North Africa region.

Dr. El-Saharty added: “Countries striving for comprehensive healthcare often find it easier to expand coverage to include new population groups or enhance service levels provided to their residents. However, improving financial protection is often the more challenging option to implement, covering nearly a third of global national health expenditures through individual spending. Yet in the case of Dubai, out-of-pocket spending on health care has decreased from 18% in 2015 to 10% in 2022, reducing the burden of individual spending and enhancing financial protection for Dubai residents, with these rates among the lowest compared to selected countries in the OECD and GCC.”

This sentiment was echoed by David Morgan, Head of Health Accounts at OECD, highlighting Dubai as having one of the lowest out-of-pocket healthcare spend as a percentage of total healthcare spending, which is highly distinctive compared to GCC and OECD countries.

He said: “DHA reflected this significant achievement in the release of its latest healthcare accounting report after ten years since the inaugural healthcare accounting report in 2012. During this period, Dubai’s healthcare system has evolved greatly in terms of funding and service provision, emphasising the importance of tracking regulatory changes and monitoring the performance of the healthcare system in Dubai.”

Morgan added: “The Dubai Health Insurance Corporation, a subsidiary of the Authority, has succeeded - in collaboration with key stakeholders - in leveraging powerful tools such as household health surveys that meet international standards and definitions, detailed administrative data sources, and eClaimlink data to provide a comprehensive and accurate picture of the amount spent on healthcare, its source, and the types of goods and services spent on.”

Professor David Bishai, Director of the School of Public Health at the University of Hong Kong, praised the healthcare accounting methodology and policy followed by the Dubai Health Authority. He stated: “National healthcare accounting has proven its value in tracking expenditure growth trends in the health sector, demonstrating its ability to assist analysts in analysing types of services and beneficiary age groups. This is particularly noteworthy as it clearly indicates the level of cost growth response to various healthcare policies.”

Commenting on the international acclaim received by the Dubai Health Authority in this regard, Saleh Al Hashimi, the CEO of Dubai Health Insurance Corporation at the DHA, stated that Dubai’s healthcare system is undergoing radical transformations not only in its management based on smart solutions and the latest technologies but also in the high-quality services it provides. Additionally, it is swiftly responding to the growing demand for care services both within the UAE and beyond.