Abu Dhabi: To keep up with the growing demand for medical care in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, 70 new health-care facilities and 32 pharmaceutical institutions have been licensed this year by the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), a senior official said in the capital yesterday.

In addition, 125 other health care institutions and 33 pharmaceutical companies are awaiting initial approval for their licences, said Zaid Al Siksek, chief executive officer of the HAAD.

"In the next year, we will see growing contribution to health care in the emirate from the private sector. Critical gaps identified in oncological, paediatric and psychiatric care will also be filled," Al Siksek told Gulf News.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the fifth Abu Dhabi Medical Congress, which concludes in the capital today. The three-day congress this year is expected to attract more than 5,000 medical professionals from across the region.

Expected to grow

The emirate currently has 800 health care institutions and 580 pharmacies. Demand for health services is however expected to grow aggressively, with the highest demand in services related to lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses and cancers.

In response to this demand, Al Siksek said that a 600-bed capacity increase was expected in health care facilities over the next three years.

He also said that health insurance cards will also be linked in future to the Emirates Identity Card.