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Patients must be a resident visa holder to benefit from the Basmah initiative. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Dubai residents are now covered for screening and treatment of three types of cancers and Hepatitis C under an Essential Basic Plan (EBP), but few are aware of the initiative, which began in January.

Announced by Dubai Health Authority last year, the Basmah Initiative covers colorectal, breast and cervical cancers for EBP policyholders. Screening and treatment cover for these cancers is provided only at the Cancer Centre of Excellence, Dubai Hospital. Additionally, EBP policyholders also have access to screening and treatment of Hepatitis C.

How it works?

Starting from January of this year, all 12 DHA approved insurance providers offering the EBP asked policyholders to pay an additional amount of Dh19 and Dh18 for Cancer and Hepatitis C (HCV) treatment respectively. This sum Dh37 (plus VAT to total Dh39.85) paid to the insurance provider annually, is pooled into DHA’s trust account and helps cover the additional cost of these three types of cancer treatment and the HCV virus, when a patient surpasses the minimum insured sum of Dh150,000 for Low Salary Band (LSB) workers. However, very few EBP holders are aware of this.


additional amount EBP policyholders must pay to be covered for three cancers, Hepatitis C


DHA-approved insurance providers offer the service

An insurance company head explained: “If an EBP policyholder goes to his family physician for a routine examination and during that if the general practitioner suspects any of these cancers, he can refer the patient for cancer screening at the Cancer Centre of Excellence at Dubai Hospital.”

If a patient has any of the three cancers, he is enrolled in the Cancer Patient Support Programme... DHA’s patient tracking and follow-up centre is automatically notified and they ensure that treatment is smooth and streamlined.

- Insurance company head


minimum insured sum for Low Salary Band workers under the Essential Benefits Plan

A customer service agent at the Dubai branch of Takaful Emarat, who provide EBP coverage, added: “If the patient is indeed found positive with any of the three cancers, he is enrolled in the Cancer Patient Support Programme (Cancer PSP). His details go into the DHA patient tracking and follow-up centre which is automatically notified and they ensure that the treatment process is smooth and streamlined.”

In the case of the above three cancers, there is unlimited coverage. Once the patient exhausts their sum insured, the funds from the DHA’s trust account cover his treatment costs. “The usual coinsurance for EBP which is 20 per cent of consultation and treatment fee will be applicable,” explained the Takaful Emarat customer service representative.

Hepatitis C

Patients of the HCV virus under EBP have to follow the same procedure. If a family physician during a routine check-up suspects symptoms of the HCV virus, he can refer the patient for additional screening. Once the screening is positive, treatment begins.

All medicines for HCV treatment are covered for the patient. This initiative is also an attempt by DHA to fulfil Vision 2021’s goal of eliminating the HCV virus. The only condition is that the patient must be a resident visa holder with a health insurance cover. An individual seeking a fresh resident visa, who screens positive for these ailments, will not be covered under this initiative.

What is the Basmah initiative?
The Basmah initiative announced by the DHA last year and activated in January makes Dubai Health Authority the first government entity in the world to provide a complete spectrum of care from screening to treatment for the three types of cancer under the essential benefit plan. Prior to the scheme, cancer coverage was limited to Dh150,000. Now there are no sub-limits and coverage is unlimited.