Dubai: Nafis, a federal programme that supports Emiratis in the private sector, has signed five Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with higher educational institutions in the UAE to expand the involvement of Emiratis in the healthcare sector through Nafis’ ‘National Healthcare Programme’ initiative.
The new initiative, which had opened its doors for registration in the end of July, has received applications from 3,721 Emirati students through Higher Colleges of Technology, Fatima College of Health Sciences, Fujairah University, University of Sharjah, University of Ajman, Gulf Medical University and Ras Al Khaimah Medical and Health Sciences University.
As many as 1,621 Emirati students have been accepted and have started their studies, while those who have not fulfilled the eligibility criteria of the initiative will be listed for the initiative’s development programme.
According to the MoUs, NAFIS will be working closely with the five academic institutions: Higher Colleges of Technology, University of Sharjah, University of Ajman, Gulf Medical University and Ras Al-Khaimah Medical and Health Sciences University, to offer paid scholarships. It will also provide the necessary trainings, laboratories and workshops to develop the students’ skills and equip them with the qualifications they need to thrive in the health sector.
The academic programmes included in the ‘National Healthcare Programme’ involve the Graduate Healthcare Assistance Programme, Diploma/Higher Diploma in Emergency Medicine, and Bachelor’s degree in Nursing, in addition to a number of other practical and specialised healthcare and healthcare assistant programmes, which will be implemented in the future to enhance the participation of Emiratis within this vital sector.
Ghannam Al Mazrouei, secretary-general of the Emirati Talent Competitiveness Council (ETCC), the federal entity overseeing Nafis, said: “As the UAE evolves to expand its national healthcare system to meet the growing needs of its people, it is our hope that we witness a larger presence of UAE nationals within this vital sector. Starting at the source of the healthcare sector, educational institutions, is a critical step in the country’s ambitious healthcare plans.”
Budget for expenses
Al Mazrouei added that these partnerships align with the aspirations of the leadership to cooperate with all government and private entities to achieve the objectives of Nafis and support the implementation of its initiatives and programmes, stressing that Nafis will work to provide the necessary budget to cover the expenses of the study programmes offered by these educational institutions to Emirati students in the field of healthcare.
Saif Ahmed Al Suwaidi, undersecretary of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation for Emiratisation, said: “The importance of the healthcare sector has drastically increased over the past few years, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which the healthcare staff have emerged as the first line of defence in addressing the pandemic. We have also seen a significant interest in joining the healthcare sector as a result of the generous support of the UAE government.”
He added: “In recognition of the government’s efforts in developing this sector, it is a top priority to increase the presence of UAE nationals within healthcare and provide them with all the qualifications and skillset they need.”
Registration methods and other details on joining the programme will be announced later.