Expat workforce in Gulf Countries facing challenges in affordable quality healthcare, says Dr Moopen

United Arab Emirates: Wednesday, January 02 - 2013 @ 15:31

Talking about affordability, accessibility and quality healthcare in the Middle East as part of a plenary session at the ongoing Global Healthcare Summit here today, Dr Moopen said the GCC countries faced a huge challenge in the case of accessibility as expat workforce do not have enough healthcare facilities.

“But things have improved in the past five years through a better insurance mechanism. The governments are taking care of the local people, leaving the healthcare responsibility of expatriates to the private sector through the employers,” he said.

Pointing out that Kerala has a vital connection to the healthcare system in the Middle East, Dr Moopen, the chairman of DM Healthcare, said Keralites alone accounted for 25% of the population in UAE against 12% of the local people.

“There are 1000 Indian doctors in UAE alone and about 500 doctors in the GCC countries. But now, one big challenge is the lack of trained medical personnel. India used to be the mainstay supplier for long, but now the conditions are competitive as doctors do not go to Gulf for work. In the case of nurses and lab technicians, the pipeline is still better,” said Dr Moopen, who has a network of 150 healthcare establishments across the Middle East under Aster and Medcare brands.

He also felt that India can learn much from the quality aspect of the Middle East, but cannot match in the case of affordability and accessibility as the Gulf countries are `pregnant with money.’ Mandatory accreditation for all clinical establishments by at least one international agency, and strict licensing system has improved the quality in healthcare delivery in the Gulf, he added.

Talking about the global perspective, Dr M S Valiathan suggested that India should adopt lessons from even Bangladesh and Thailand to evolve strategies, especially steps like bulk purchase of generic drugs by the Governments.

“Quality healthcare is a reality to the affluent sections, but still a myth to larger sections of the society. Things have changed for the better after 2000 in India through Government interventions,” he pointed out.

Mr Viren Prasad Shetty, Vice-president of Narayana Hrudalaya, called for increased use of technology by doctors to improve the clinical quality in the modern era.

Giving details on the US perspective, American Medical Association president Dr Jeremy Lazarus said America was witnessing reforms in the health sector recently. That is the most comprehensive one happening in the last 50 years time.

“From fragmented individual approach, there is a collaborative team-based system now in place,” he pointed out.

Talking about the Kerala perspective, Dr Ramdas Pisharody, the principal of Trivandrum Medical College, said Kerala was facing new challenges from emerging fevers and nosocomical infections.

He called for a relook even in the case of curriculum for medical education in the backdrop of the changing challenges. He hoped that the ongoing drive in the hospital management systems will have better reach and coverage in the next few years.

The three-day mega conference, being organized by the Association of American Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPIO) and Indian Medical Association (IMA) in collaboration with the Union Ministries of Overseas Indian Affairs and Health, began here last evening.

In one of the biggest gatherings of the kind in Kerala, over 1000 national delegates and 380 international delegates, including 250 from the United States alone, are attending the power-packed conference which aims at developing and bringing the cost-effective and innovative health solutions to India.

Media Contact: K S Nair, MD Niche Media Consultants -9567763935

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Wednesday, January 2- 2013 @ 15:31 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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