Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum presents an award to Josh Carlson from the University of Washington at a ceremony to celebrate the launch of the diploma in Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: For the first time in the Middle East a diploma in Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment (HEHTA) is being offered, honing Dubai’s status as an international hub for medical tourism.

The three-module diploma is offered by the CME (continuous medical education) arm of the Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences in collaboration with the College of Pharmacy, University of Washington, US.

Supported by bio-pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb Middle East and Africa, the first module began on Tuesday.

To celebrate the milestone, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Minister of Finance, Chairman of Dubai Health Authority and the Award’s patron, hosted a ceremony at Zabeel Palace the same day.

Attended by a high-level delegation, including 30 decision-makers and opinion leaders representing health institutions in Kuwait, Bahrain and the UAE, the ceremony highlighted the importance of medical education.

According to the Award for Medical Sciences, which plays a leading role in medical education and research, the diploma examines the economics of health-care provision and the rationale behind the allocation of resources in the health-care sector.

Professor Najeeb Al Khaja, Secretary-General of the Award, said that the diploma will help students gain a better understanding of the economic issues relating to health care.

He stressed that through the diploma, students will raise their knowledge level and this in turn will drive the UAE medical tourism strategy.

Al Khaja told Gulf News: “The diploma will help decision makers understand health economics and empower them to make the right decisions.”

Gulf News also spoke to the visiting faculty.

US-based lecturer Dr Denise Boudreau, Affiliate Associate Professor from the College of Pharmacy, said that the health technology assessment focuses on several areas, including understanding the cost and clinical perspective of health technology and examining the short- and long-term consequences of the application of technology; whereas health economics looks into health-care resource allocation.

“The combination of the two fields has been developed as a response to increasing health-care costs. It will give policy makers the necessary tools to make informed decisions,” said Dr Boudreau.

US-based lecturer Dr Josh Carlson, Assistant Professor from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, added: “The benefit of the diploma is that it will help implement a system to allocate resources efficiently, especially with the rising costs of health care.”

The second and third modules of the diploma will run from October 29-31 and November 19-21.