In just 50 years, the UAE has realised a dramatic improvement in health outcomes, driven largely by investment in technology and talent.

Since 1971, for example, life expectancy has increased to 78 from 62, an improvement attributed to the region’s improved healthcare provision.

More recently, investment in increasing the number of doctors, nurses, and medical facilities, has driven rapid positive change. A focus on reducing diseases associated with lifestyle (such as smoking, obesity and diabetes) has also had a major impact.

Krishna Dhanak, Executive Director at Alpen Capital explained, “The healthcare industry in the UAE has witnessed major growth and transformation due to significant investments in the private sector and the governments’ diversification initiatives over the past couple of years.” Alpen Capital offers financial advice to institutions across the Middle East. Dhanak continued, “The roll out of mandatory healthcare insurance has increased the utilisation of medical services at private and government healthcare facilities.”

Investments in healthcare has also been a part of a boom in medical tourism in the region. In addition to the safety and hospitality of the UAE, the healthcare systems facilitated through waves of investment mark the area as a leader in healthcare, both in terms of talent and infrastructure, both of which have taken a concerted effort to bring to fruition. Building a competitive medical landscape in the UAE, with many world-leading facilities, is attracting patients from across the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.

There are still challenges ahead, though. Although progress has been nothing short of astounding, there remain gaps in some specialty areas. With ongoing investment, filling those gaps, in areas such as cancer, neurology, cardiology. Cost will remain a topic of choice too, with UAE aiming for quality of service, rather than appealing to a cheaper, mass market.