Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) has announced that it will be establishing a new facility for pathology testing services. The Emirates Reference Laboratory (ERL) will provide medical testing services to hospitals and clinics throughout Dubai, the UAE and the entire Gulf Cooperation Council region. DHCC says that pathology testing services currently must be outsourced to laboratories in Europe, Asia and Australia.
The laboratory's development will be overseen by Dr. Ali Ridha Al Hashemi. He currently holds several high-level administrative positions across Dubai’s healthcare sector, including the role of director of pathology services at the Dubai Health Authority.
The lab will also provide technical support to professors and students conducting medical research at Mohammad Bin Rashid University Hospital, which is scheduled to open in 2020 inside the sprawling complex.
The expansion is part of Dubai's plan to enhance its stature as a medical tourism destination. Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, chairperson of the Dubai Healthcare City Authority, said in an interview with the Oxford Business Group that of the 1.2 million patients DHCC received in 2014, 15 percent were medical tourists. She said about half of those approximately 180,000 medical tourists came from the Gulf Cooperation Council region, with the remainder from Asia and Europe. Dubai is hoping to see 500,000 medical tourists by 2020.
Dubai Healthcare City was established in 2002 and is governed by the Dubai Healthcare City Authority. It lists nearly 160 clinical partners — including hospitals, outpatient medical centers and diagnostic laboratories — within its current facilities, and also houses the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, which is part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Academic Medical Center. The university received its first medical students in the fall of 2016.
— Ali Greatsinger
Ali Greatsinger is the senior editor at GHCi.