The Nad Al Hamar Primary Health Care Centre. With the addition of four centres the numbers will go up to 18. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is slated to open four new Primary Health Care Centres at the beginning of 2019 to meet the health care needs of the emirate, said a top DHA official on Wednesday.

Speaking exclusively to Gulf News, Dr Manal Al Taryam, CEO of Primary Health Care at the DHA, said: “We are opening these centres in Al Ghusais, Umm Suqeim, Abu Hail and Al Habab.”

With the addition of four new centres the numbers will go up to 18 and there will be a few more coming up until 2021.

Primary Health Care Centres play the role of being the first frontier for health care before a patient decides to contact a hospital. They offer a wide range of services such as mandatory medical screening tests for those seeking residents visas, family clinics with General Practitioners (GPS), pre and antenatal clinics for pregnant women and new mothers, paediatric services, dental, orthopaedics and physical rehabilitation consultations, ENT services, nutritional clinics as well as facilities for immunisation and premarital genetic screenings.

Manal Taryam, CEO of Primary Health Sector at the DHA. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Thousands of nationals and expatriate residents visit primary health care centres every year.

A few centres work round the clock offering emergency medical service, some have speciality clinics, some offer immunisation and travel related medicines and vaccinations, some provide home care for the geriatric population among the many services offered.

Statistics provided by DHA indicate that nearly 500,000 residents (both nationals and expatriates) visited the Primary Health Centres in 2017 just for consultation in family medicine alone.

Dr Manal added that that PHCs were an important part of the Dubai Health Strategy 2021. “So far we have 14 Primary Health Care Centres and prevention of diseases is an important aspect of these centres.”

PHCs found throughout the emirate, are set up keeping in mind a ratio of one health centre or clinic for every 30,000 individuals. Dr Manal added: “The geographical distribution of these centres takes into consideration the ease of accessibility of patients to them. Our census reveals a need for a primary health centre in a particular area as per the population density and we decide to set it up accordingly.”

“Our Primary health care centres are important as they provide public health facilities for a community such as antismoking, geriatric and home care clinics, wellness promotion clinics and health education part from nutrition and diet facilities.

The opening of these centres will help ease the burden of public hospitals. While health care services for nationals are provided free of cost by the government, these centres provide free emergency care for all residents.

Children with high fever or any emergency such as sudden injury, fall or cut which needs to be attended to immediately can be taken care of at these centres free of cost. Dr Manal added: “We accept many insurances and the residents need to check in their insurance if the primary health care centres are included.”

Those who have a facility to pay and request for reimbursement on their insurance can also avail of the facilities of theses centres.

List of some primary health care centres:

• Al Safa Health Centre

• Al Bada Health Centre

• Al Muhaisnah Health Centre

• Nad Al Hamar Health Centre

• Al Zabeel Health Centre

• Al Barsha Health Centre

• Al Mankhool Health Centre

• Al Mamzar Health Centre

• Al Khawaneej Health Centre

• Al Ittihad Health Centre

• Dubai Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Centre, Jumeirah 2

• Dubai Diabetes Centre

• DIFC Medical Fitness Centre

• Medical Fitness Centre Karama