UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his daughter, Shaikha Jalila Bint Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Al Jalila Foundation, which aims at promoting the UAE as a centre of excellence in medical treatment, education and research, was officially inaugurated on Monday by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The foundation, a non-profit organisation, was established in November 26 last year.

Speaking at the event, Dr Abdul Kareem Sultan Al Olama, CEO of the foundation, stressed that the main focus will be medical research of diseases related to the UAE people.

“Al Jalila Foundation follows three main pillars: medical research, education and treatment, however our main focus will be medical research. This is because in the UAE we have qualified people and we want to create opportunities for them. Our areas of interest will focus on diseases common in the UAE and the region.”

Al Olama stated that the diseases most likely to be focused on will be chronic diseases that are common in the region such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

The second pillar, education, will depend on the programme followed by the foundation: “When it comes to education we will have a different target every year to teach people either medicine or other fields that support medicine. We will announce very soon what the programme will focus on for the next coming years,” he added.

The Al Jalila Foundation is a global foundation targeting both expats and nationals while keeping in mind the importance of Emiratisation. “The foundation is a global one so we will be targeting all nationalities,; however at the beginning we will be focusing on increasing the numbers of qualified Emiratis in the medical field.”

The foundation will target high achievers at school and make them aware of the medical fields in hope of attracting them to the health sector. If they are interested the foundation will then offer them a scholarship.

“As for the third pillar, treatment, the people treated will depend on what the foundation’s programme is at that time. For example if the programme is related to children then our target will be children,” he concluded.

Shaikh Mohammad issued decree No 23 for 2012, forming the board of trustees of the Al Jalila Foundation under the chairmanship of Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.

The five-member board includes Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, Abdul Hamid Ahmad Seddiqi, Abdul Gaffar Ghuloum Hussain, Raja Eisa Saleh Al Gurg, and Hussain Abdul Rahman Khan Sahib.

Chairperson of the Board of the Directors and Member of the Board of Trustees Raja stated at the launch: “Al Jalila Foundation was established to fulfil the UAE leader’s 2021 Vision in excelling in the fields of medicine. The foundation will help the UAE reach its aim in becoming a pioneer in the medical field. We hope to achieve this goal by adopting an effective strategy that provides scholarships and adapts to medical techniques.”

Other than funding medical scholarships and researchers the foundation also hopes to publish scientific publications and sponsor medical conferences in collaboration with regional and international institutes.

The foundation will be headquartered in Dubai Healthcare City and will depend on donations from the public to fulfil its objectives.

Noor Nazzal is a trainee at Gulf News