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Excerpts from UAE Dailies

First-ever liver transplant in UAE

ABU DHABI — AUG 15: The first-ever liver transplantation in the UAE has been successfully carried out on an Asian patient at Zayed Military Hospital.

Prakash Doshi, 46-year-old Indian businessman from Dubai who is a father of two, was suffering from advanced liver failure for the past three months and his health was deteriorating dramatically. In the delicate surgery on August 10, a team of five surgeons used 60 per cent of his wife Bhavna Doshi’s liver to help save the patient’s life. The recipient is recovering in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Zayed Military Hospital while the donor was transferred to the ward and is reported to be doing well, medical and official sources confirmed.

According to them the surgery was 100 per cent successful and both patients will be discharged in few days.

Announcing the achievement to the media in the capital on Monday, Dr Rashid Ahmed Al Nuaimi, Director, Medical Services at the Hospital, said: “This is the first time a liver transplant surgery has been conducted in the country. A medical team of national doctors led by visiting German doctor Dr Ayman Obeid successfully carried out the surgery.”

This operation will pave the way for setting up a centre for liver, pancreas and kidney transplant centre, which will spare both nationals and expatriates the hassles of going abroad for treatment, he pointed out.

“We urge health authorities in the country to work harder to activate federal law on organs transplantation to have a centre of excellence in this field,” he stated.

“The surgery will build confidence on our capabilities to conduct critical operations inside the country, and consequently spare citizens and residents hardships like finding donors, medical ethics applied in different countries, as well as high expenses of getting treatment abroad,” said Dr Nuaimi.

Giving details of the operation, he said Doshi had been complaining of a severe liver cryptogenic cirrhosis (or damage) of the liver (cryptogenic means there is no known cause). The 40-year-old wife who opted to donate part of her liver to save the husband’s life was a suitable life donor as all tests showed she was healthy and her blood group matched her husband’s.

“It was a big challenge for us to do the transplantation. We sought assistance from Tawam Hospital in Al Ain and borrowed an ultrasonic type of knife to avert bleeding of the liver. We had calculated all risks and made sure they didn’t overweigh against the benefits,” he said.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Doshi’s relatives, who came all the way from Mumbai to attend the surgery, expressed their gratitude to the hospital. “We are very happy with the hospital and the staff. They did a great job and are taking good care of the patients,” said Priti Parekh, Doshi’s sister.

The patient’s uncle, Vinod Doshi, said: “I want to praise the courageous wife. She went to the operation theatre with a smile on her face. And the first thing she did when she regained consciousness was ask about her husband’s health.”


UAE unveils housing plan

ABU DHABI — AUG 15: The UAE Ministry of Public Works yesterday announced the preparation of a federal transportation system and drafting of a national housing plan which will be the key focus areas for implementation in its 2008-2010 strategic plan.

The national housing plan includes the construction of new cities in line with international standards in order to achieve a balanced and sustainable development and provide a higher standard of living for the citizens.

The transportation system will empower the Federal National Authority as the sole entity responsible for road safety across the country. The authority will conduct a study to identify the major causes of road accidents and make recommendations. It will also conduct a close scrutiny of the local and federal road networks to ensure compliance with safety standards and federal regulations.

Shaikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister for Public Works, said the ministry would seek to provide adequate housing for all UAE nationals while setting up a national plan to cover housing requirements for the next 20 years.

The minister emphasised the importance of developing remote areas through an infrastructure database, with a specific objective to meet the needs of the people in those areas. The establishment of a federal council, which will have representatives from all the ministries, and the establishment of a general secretariat at the federal council for development are expected to facilitate remote area development.

The ministry’s strategy recommendations also include promoting the use of renewable energy in every household, and liaising with local entities to include this feature in building specifications. It will also discuss the feasibility of applying renewable energy to bigger projects, such as street lighting, and develop scientific standards to reduce energy use.

The Ministry of Works also plays a vital role in building schools in line with the directive of the country’s leadership in spreading education. The ministry will identify the required standards for school buildings and ensure a maintenance mechanism for all schools in the UAE.

Attracting qualified UAE nationals and developing local talent through adequate training, in line with government guidelines, is also part of the ministry’s strategy.

Another key focus area for the ministry is electronic infrastructure. The shift to e-Government is expected to ensure accuracy and speed up delivery of services, enhancing the ministry’s capabilities while improving its performance.

The strategy of the Ministry of Public Works is the result of various studies as well as requirements and recommendations of some federal government departments which work in association with the ministry.

The ministry has identified 29 major initiatives which cover areas such as infrastructure, government buildings, development of remote areas and social development.


Indian I-Day celebrations today

ABU DHABI — AUG 15: The new ambassador of India to the UAE, Talmiz Ahmad, will hoist the national flag at 8am today at the embassy premises to mark the 60th anniversary of India’s Independence.

After the flag-hoisting ceremony, a message from the  President of India will be read out followed by patriotic  songs by schoolchildren.

Meanwhile, the Indian Social and Cultural Centre in association with the Indian Embassy and all registered Indian organisations and social centres such as the Malayalee Samajam, Kerala Social Centre, Indian Islamic Centre and Indian Ladies’ Association will hold a function to mark the occasion at the grand auditorium of the Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi at 8.15pm today.

The ambassador will be the chief guest.


Two held with over 2m pills of banned drug

DUBAI — AUG 15: The Anti-Narcotics Department of Dubai Police last week foiled an attempt to smuggle out of UAE more than two million narcotic pills with a street value of Dh20 million.

This was stated yesterday by Lt. Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansour, Deputy Director in the Criminal Investigation Department of the Dubai Police.

He said that the police had received information that a group of Arab nationals were looking for someone to transport the banned drug, Keptajon, to Saudi Arabia. They also learnt that the group had managed to smuggle 2,140,000 capsules of the drug from another Arab country. On Thursday, the police set a trap in the Al Qusais area to arrest the traffickers who came with the pills weighing 380kg hidden in a truck which was, in fact, provided by a police source.

The police arrested A.H. and B.M. red-handed. They later confessed to their crime.  The two alleged traffickers were referred to the Dubai Public Prosecution.


RTA blames inaccurate data for delayed SMS

DUBAI —AUG 15: The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has said that the delays in SMS confirmations on Salik owe to inaccurate information filled in the application forms such as wrong mobile or vehicle number and registering more than one car in the same application.

RTA has appealed to the people to write down all the information and details in a proper way in the Salik registration forms.  RTA officials have announced that more than 600,000 cards had been sold till now since Salik was introduced on July 1. 

RTA had distributed more than 1 million Salik tags at the different Eppco, Emarat, Adnoc and Enoc petrol stations as well as the branches of the Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates Bank and RTA’s license centres. 

The commuters opting for Salik get a confirmation SMS as soon as they have registered, which gives them an idea about the balance they are left with. Also, they get SMS’s when their balance is low to alert them on the need to recharge. 

However, several commuters have been complaining of not getting these SMS’s. The RTA, on the other hand, has already clarified that people who are not getting the SMS’s after having registered for Salik will not be fined.

Salah Mohammed Al Marzouqi, director of Intelligent Traffic Systems Manager said, “the SMS delays that occurred at the beginning of the launch of Salik were due to the large number of subscribers. Delays occurring now are due to inaccurate information written in the application forms.

“We have received a lot of application forms without mobile numbers or wrong numbers. We continue to remind motorists to write down the correct mobile number, including the operator code, to show if it is Etisalat or du, including the international code for motorists from outside the UAE.” 

Al Marzouqi also stressed the importance of checking the account number and code when people recharge and update personal data in case of changes made by the applicant.

Motorists should follow the instructions on the back side of the application form and in the guide book that comes with the Salik tags. They should also visit the Salik website ( to know the procedures of subscription.

They can call Salik (800 -72545) before fixing the Salik tag on their windshields to avoid any mistakes that may affect the performance of the system, the official pointed out.

The RTA has recently launched new web services that enable motorists to check their balance accounts and view the number of crossings through the toll gates located at Garhoud Bridge and Shaikh Zayed Road near the Mall of the Emirates. These services will also allow subscribers to amend their personal data and print out financial statements.


India and Pakistan break the ice in UAE

DUBAI — AUG 15: It has taken well over half a century for the atmospherics of hostility and mutual acrimony between India and Pakistan to change. But that it may now be beginning to, albeit tentatively, is precisely what was visible as a select joint panel of eminent experts and others from the two neighbouring nations participated in Geo TV’s special India-Pakistan debate — beamed out of Dubai yesterday in front of a live audience.

The Geo TV’s initiative, a first of its kind by one of Pakistan’s leading private television channels, brought together on the studio stage General (Retd) Shankar Roy Chaudhary, ex-army chief, Dr Farooq Abdullah, former Kashmir Chief Minister and sitting Member of Parliament, and noted author and Editor-in-Chief of The Asian Age, M.J. Akbar, from India. Complimenting them across the floor were General (Retd) Mirza Aslam Beg, ex army chief, Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad, Federal Railways Minister and Mushahid Hussain Syed, Member of the Senate and General Secretary of the Pakistan Muslim League, from Pakistan.

Also featured through a live hookup in the special two-hour debate were celebrated Indian film star and Member of Parliament Shabana Azmi in New Delhi and former president of Azad Kashmir, Sardar Abdul Qayum.

The two moderators and anchors who put the participants through the paces were Geo TV’s group executive director, Dr Shahid Masood and Indian NDTV’s star presenter and managing editor, Barkha Dutt. NDTV also telecast the programme simultaneously on its network in India.

However, what was equally obvious was that the single biggest dispute that has divided the two fractious nuclear neighbours so bitterly and for as long, the Kashmir imbroglio, continues to dominate the debate. But there were some friendly concessions made by both sides: Dr Farooq Abdullah, for instance, conceded that if only India had responded as promptly to Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf’s peace proposals as we should have...the ground realities on both sides of the common border would have changed dramatically by now. General Roy Chaudhary agreed.

They were both responding to Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad’s assertion that “It’s unfortunate, we did not try to resolve the Kashmir ‘core issue’ during General Musharraf’s regime.” He also went on to say that the much-hyped “people-to-people” contacts was slightly hypocritical as it did not often reflect the true sentiments of the peoples of either Pakistan or India. Barkha Dutt interjected to agree saying: “This romanticism has often blinded us on both sides of the border.”

Interestingly, Rasheed Ahmad added: “Had former Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee still been in power, we would probably have resolved the Kashmir dispute by now.”

Meanwhile, General Beg commented: “Unlike Musharraf, no other Pakistani leader has ever offered so many concessions to further the bilateral peace process. But India has failed to capitalise on it...and that is unfortunate.”

Mushahid Hussain summed it up best when he scored a point to say: “The whole history of the Indo-Pakistan peace process is a history of missed opportunities. But the one thing that has changed for the better is that there is still a residue of some optimism that this process will eventually succeed.”

M.J. Akbar said: “The good thing is that ever since the two nations turned nuclear, the option of war has been (almost) eliminated.”

Commenting on the Indo-Pakistan relationship, Barkha Dutt said: “While this is a historic occasion and we have succeeded in bringing together different voices to debate the issues of common concern, there is no doubt that India and Pakistan share a dysfunctional, schizophrenic, relationship...fluctuating between extreme sentimentalism and extreme hatred.”

But to the credit of Geo TV’s initiative, she added, “this programme has also highlighted the fact that we can cross borders and talk to and listen to each other while debating common issues on a common platform.”

Shabana Azmi’s, incidentally, was the lone voice to try and shift the dominating political agenda of the debate. She said: “It’s time we moved ahead. There is so much more to share. What we now need is the political will to match the sentiments of the peoples on both sides who share so much in common...from sports, to culture, to the performing arts and cinema.”

The Geo TV debate will conclude today with another two-hour telecast featuring a different panel of equally distinguished guests.

Geo’s Dr Shahid Masood admitted, one reason behind the success of the India-Pakistan debate on the occasion of the 61st Independence Day celebrations of both countries is the fact that, “we offered them a neutral venue in a third country, the UAE, where our participants were willing to openly air their views on a variety of issues of common concern and interest.”


Post-amnesty: stiff action if firms employ visitors

ABU DHABI — AUG 15: Companies that bring workers into the country on visit visa and make them work after the amnesty ends on September 2, will face double punishments, including fines and imprisonment, warned a senior labour official.

Assistant Undersecretary in the Ministry of Labour (MoL) Obaid Rashid Al Zahmi said employers who employ people on visit visas will be subject to the punishments mentioned in the Cabinet decision No 1/33 of the year 2007 which includes Dh50,000 fine per each employee and a month in jail, in addition to the labour law penalty of Dh10,000 as fine, and six-month temporary suspension of the firm’s operations.

The official’s statement came during an ‘awareness day’ on the  midday break rule that was organised yesterday in the capital in cooperation with the MoL and the UAE Red Crescent (UAE-RC). The ‘awareness day’ was held to educate companies’ owners on the health hazards of forcing labourers to work under the direct sun in peak summer season.

Al Zahmi joined the UAE-RC volunteers in distributing snacks, water and juices for workers during the midday break.

The MoL has carried out 4,700 inspection visits at construction sites across the country since July 1. “We work for protecting the workers’ rights and their occupational health and safety. Hence, the MoL has been stressing over the last two years on the companies to abide by the midday break decision,” said Al Zahmi.

“Shaikh Khalifa Medical City has announced that heat and sun incidents had decreased by 46 per cent this year compared to 2006,” said Al Zahmi.

He also pointed out that most violations were reported in Dubai.


Amnesty period will not be extended: Official

SHARJAH — AUG 15: With less than three weeks left for the amnesty period to end, Director-General of Naturalisation and Residency Department (NRD) in the Ministry of Interior in Abu Dhabi, Brigadier Mohammed Salim bin Awaida Al Khaili, stated that the amnesty period will not be extended.

He added that three months were enough for amnesty-seekers to either leave the country or change their status.

During an inspection visit to the amnesty-seekers services centre at Sharjah NRD yesterday, he said the amnesty-seekers whose sponsors have refused to give them their passports and no objection certificates can approach the Immigration departments to file complaints against their sponsors.

Brig. Al Khaili said that nearly 175,000 illegals had already taken advantage of the amnesty. With less than three weeks remaining for the period to end, all departments in the emirates are facing great pressure of workload and efforts have been intensified to solve the problem by erecting tents and providing spaces for seekers to complete their formalities.

With regard to the new rules related to workers he said the offices of Naturalisation and Residency Departments in all the emirates will be coordinating with the Ministry of Labour and its offices to implement the federal labour law.

Brig. Al Khaili stressed that after the amnesty ends, a law defining fines and prison terms will be passed and strictly implemented. The authorities will launch inspection campaigns across the country and anyone found violating the residency laws will face stern action and penalties.

“The Cabinet decision No. 1/33 regarding the amnesty stipulates punishment for employers, sponsors and companies who provide shelter to ‘illegals’ in the UAE,” he pointed out.

Brig. Al Khaili urged amnesty-seekers to contact the nearest NRD offices to benefit from the amnesty. “We are working 18 hours a day to provide assistance for completion of formalities, be it departure from the country or regularisation of status,” he added.


Banks play indirect but crucial role in increasing house rents

ABU DHABI — AUG 15:  Banks allegedly play an indirect but influential role in increasing house rents and property prices, according to Juma Al Mansouri, Director of the Rents Section, Department of Social Services and Commercial Buildings, and Sultan Al Hosani, Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Settlement of Rent Disputes in Abu Dhabi.

Al Mansouri told Khaleej Times, “Banks play an influential role in increasing rents because they encourage landlords to take huge loans at high interest rates — primarily to demolish their old buildings and replace them with new structures which are then rented out at much higher rents.”

“We, as such, highly appreciate the UAE Central Bank’s move to call a meeting between the Committee and the Department as well as various banks to work out an appropriate action plan and a code of ethics for the banking sector, Al Mansouri added.

Al Hosani said, “The fact is some banks own buildings and rent them out commercially for profit. In some cases, the court has already issued notices to these banks to adhere strictly to the country’s tenancy laws.”

“Interestingly, while some banks do not violate the annual 7 per cent cap on annual rent hikes, they impose new fees. These often include demanding as much as Dh500 for tenancy contract renewals,” he disclosed.


Saadiyat a safe breeding ground

ABU DHABI - AUG 15: A batch of 58 Hawksbill turtles has hatched safely on Saadiyat Island, which lies 500 metres off Abu Dhabi city, under a programme to protect the environment of the island as it is developed.

The monitoring project, which is run by the Emirates Heritage Club and the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), has also made proposals to protect the future of the island’s native turtles.

Saadiyat Island – the site of the planned Louvre Abu Dhabi – is being transformed into an international residential, tourism and cultural hub.

“Our aim is to ensure development does not disturb the natural habitat or wildlife of the island,” said Nasser Al Shaiba, environment affairs director at TDIC, which is behind the island’s development.

Hawksbill turtles are found in the coastal shallows offshore Saadiyat Island. Named after its conspicuous beaked snout, the Hawksbill lives in warm waters and feeds off sponges and mollusks and rarely strays from the shallows.

Monitoring of the breeding project is part of TDIC’s com mitment to environmental stewardship, said the firm’s chief. “Our guidelines have resulted in hotel developments being kept a considerable distance from nesting grounds with access to open beach areas being via raised walkways that criss-cross the natural dunes and mangroves flanking the shoreline,” said Lee Tabler, CEO at TDIC.

TDIC, which manages the tourism assets of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, said it has adopted a strict ecocode designed to ensure development respects and protects the emirate’s sensitive coastal and desert ecologies.


Dubai - Pervs prey on women

Dubai - Aug 15: Sick internet perverts are using expatriate web sites to prey on cash-strapped single women in Dubai. The men are posting a number of classified notices on popular international web site, advertising “golden opportunities” for free rooms for “attractive” women.

But on making contact, the women are then exposed to explicit and offensive emails, with the men demanding sexual favours in return for the “free board” offer. Angry European expat JJ, who enquired after one of the emails, said she was appalled by the response she received: “I’m disgusted, although I have no idea what woman would ever take the offer further. I had a feeling it wasn’t likely to be above-board but the language used was so offensive. These men are cowards and obviously need psychological help.”

JJ had replied to an ad posted by a man calling himself  ‘Alfie’, who had written the following notice under “Rooms Available”: “I am offering free accommodation for a nice cute girl for free only with me. Two bed is there, u can choose one bedroom. If any girls interested plz mail me with ur full details. Urs, Alfie.”

But when she emailed him for more details he replied with sordid suggestions and said the room was free as long as she slept with him whenever he wanted. An investigation by 7DAYS revealed another similar advert for a free room, by a man calling himself ‘Amar’, who also made lewd demands when an undercover reporter contacted him for more information.
Another advert, from a man claiming to be called ‘Adam’, who says he is “handsome and has a sense of humour” and works in “a very famous company in management position”, appeals for “attractive girls” to contact him to live in a room in his apartment, complete with free transport.

He insists he is “not a bad person” and that he “just wants to share my apartment and a part of my life with an attractive girl”. He then asks for a picture. A spokesman for Etisalat said while they investigate any complaints made against web sites, it sounded like a topic that needed to be dealt with by the web site itself, who 7DAYS unsuccessfully attempted to contact.

JJ said: “It’s a good web site, it’s just a shame some unscrupulous, sad men, have to abuse a useful public service site by targeting vulnerable women in this way.”


Dubai - Sponsors’ outrage

Dubai - Aug 15: The Dubai-based patron of child marathon prodigy Budhia Singh said he was very disappointed with the boy’s coach after reports that he tortured the youngster.  “If the whole story is true then we are disappointed that the coach has perpetrated such abusive acts on him,” said SS Rajkumar, Vice Chairman and CEO of Koohiji Group.

The group set up a trust fund of dhs15,0000 for Budhia after his visit to Dubai last year. The money was to be used for Budhia’s education and to nurture his talents. However, the company was shocked after Budhia’s coach Biranchi Das was picked up by police in Orissa, India yesterday for allegedly torturing and mistreating the boy. But yesteday the company maintained that it would still help the child.

“The trust fund is in Budhia’s name and is irrevocable. The money is no longer in our hands but is deposited in a bank in India which has established the trust fund,”  Rajkumar said.  The five-year-old Indian boy entered the record books when he ran 65km in seven hours in his hometown of Orissa. Budhia became a national hero with the entire country backing him in his races.

However, human rights groups, with the help of the state government put a ban on the boy running claiming it was torture to make a young boy run such long distances. The coach even announced a 500km walkathon from Bhubhaneshwar to Calcutta by Budhia, but it was stopped by the police.

“We definitely admire Budhia’s courage for coming forward to reveal the truth,” said Rajkumar, who added that there were several instances when the coach tried to gain access to some of the money.

“He asked for money to buy a car and to improve facilities in his gymnasium. He once tried to threaten and said he would defame us if we did not give him the money. However, we were clear that the beneficiary was Budhia and the money was for his development,” Rajkumar said. According to reports from India, Budhia's mother, Sukanti Singh, told police that she found scars on her son's body when he returned home ten days ago after living with the coach for two years. Sukanti alleged that the coach even tied Budhia from the ceiling fan and threw hot water on his body.
Coach Biranchi denied the allegations and said he was being framed. Biranchi picked up the boy from the slums and trained him towards becoming an Olympic champion.


Many to miss plane for lack of cash

UAE - Aug 15: SCORES of illegal labourers who have not been paid for months expressed fears that they may not utilise the opportunity to exit the country during the amnesty as none of them have enough money to buy air-tickets.

Some of the labourers living in a dilapidated labour camp in Sharjah said that they have not even applied for an out pass due to lack of money.

"The company where we worked for three months is refusing to clear our salaries. The amnesty deadline is nearing and none of us have money to buy air-tickets," said Chinna Lingaiah, a hapless labourer from Southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

"Our debts back home are mounting and there is no way that we can ask our family members to send us some money. We request the government authorities to provide us air-tickets and help us in getting our money from the labour supplying companies so that we can return home during the amnesty," he added.

Like Lingaiah there are a large number of labourers who are desperately looking for help. In a labour camp located near the Bin Ladin round about in Sharjah there are nearly hundred labourers who are struggling to meet their daily expenses.

Each one sharing a room with 14 others, these illegal labourers are pessimistic about their return owing to the financial problems.

"We don't have money to buy food from the hotel. Some of us even skip daily meal to avoid costs. Buying an air-ticket would be a difficult thing for us. Our chances of leaving the country look remote as none of us have money," said another labourer M Ramesh.

Mohammed Sharif, another labourer from Rolla area of Sharjah has been making calls to media men for help. He said that he did not receive payment for three months from the labour supplying company.

"I've been postponing my trip since July because I have no money to pay to the ticket. I have approached some friends to help me out, but in vain. It looks like I will be stranded in the UAE," said 25 years old Sharif.

Nearly sixty per cent of illegal labourers are from Andhra Pradesh and are living in shanty labour camps in different parts of Sharjah working for meager amounts varying between Dhs600 to Dhs1,000 per month.

Some of them are even denied that payment as companies simply shut their business leaving the labourers in the lurch. While few of the labourers have passports with them, majority of them have been working in the UAE without a passport and other valid documents.

Labourers said that they have even written a letter to a leading regional newspaper in Andhra Pradesh explaining them about their plight. "We wrote to the newspaper expecting that we would get some support.

"Though the newspaper has published our letter, there has been no response from the state government. We request some good Samaritans from the UAE to bail us out from this difficult situation," said another labourer Srinivas Napali from Kareemnagar district.


MoH gears up to offer better services

UAE - AUG 15: THE Ministry of Health (MoH) will enhance its regulatory role with an emphasis on upgrading healthcare facilities to provide better services according to its strategic framework for the next three years.

The strategy for 2008-2010, which was announced by Minister of Health, Humaid Mohammed Obeid Al Qattami, covers 35 key initiatives to be implemented during the next three years.

These include an electronic network to connect the country's hospitals and healthcare centres, a medical archiving system and a national health database in association with the UAE e-Government. Developing a comprehensive training programme for the ministry's staff is another highlight of the strategy.

Detailing the objectives of the plan, Qatammi said, "The strategy reflects the ministry's determination in upgrading services. The ministry will also focus on enhancing its regulatory role and will strive to raise the level of its high calibre scientific, technical and administrative personnel."

"We seek to transform the ministry from being a service provider to one with more strategic responsibility.

"The ministry should focus on developing rules and regulations that govern the healthcare sector. Medical services will be the responsibility of the recently launched Emirates Health Authority that will operate independently at both financial and administrative levels."

The ministry's key objectives include unifying healthcare policies across the UAE, ensuring medical services to all UAE Nationals and residents and promoting best international practices. Enhancing the country's capabilities in the field of preventive medicine while combating the spread of epidemics and infectious diseases, increasing the community's awareness on healthcare services are also among the important objectives of the MoH,

"The ministry has developed a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) following best international standards. The KPIs will help us monitor the progress of our plans and will ensure successful implementation of various initiatives," he said.

The MoH targets promoting best international practices in all public and private hospitals, clinics and healthcare centres. Training and skills development programmes, expertise exchange initiatives and knowledge accumulation schemes constitute major elements of the ministry's strategy.

Qattami said that the ministry's ultimate objective was to lay the foundation for sustainable development within the healthcare sector which follows international best practices. "Building and sustaining the country's medical expertise is high on our agenda. We also eye increasing the UAE Nationals' contribution to this sector by developing second and third generations of medical experts," he explained.

The ministry will also work on applying a new self management system for public hospitals to grant them more operational independence and flexibility. Such a system is to be deployed in all public hospitals before end of 2010.

Setting up quality control units in all healthcare facilities, that will help prepare these facilities for accreditation according to international standards, sealing partnerships and co-operation agreements between government hospitals and internationally recognised healthcare providers, upgrading laboratories and introducing new laboratory services are also among the strategy's key initiatives.

On the international level, the MoH will embark on strengthening co-operation with leading global healthcare organisations to exchange expertise and enhance local capabilities through various programmes.




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