The UAE has a highly developed health infrastructure, and the standard of healthcare in Dubai is high. Medical facilities are modern and easily accessible for locals and expats alike. Most public hospitals in Dubai offer good quality healthcare, although many expats choose private medical centres. English is commonly spoken, and much of the medical staff consists of internationally trained expats.
Healthcare facilities in Dubai
Public hospitals and clinics provide free or low-cost medical services to UAE residents. Expats who'd like to make use of public hospitals need to apply for a health card from the Department of Health and Medical Services.
Dubai is home to numerous modern private hospitals and even has an enormous medical centre, appropriately named Dubai Healthcare City.
Dubai Healthcare City is a large complex of medical buildings and institutions. It includes hospitals, clinics, teaching and research facilities, pharmacies and partnerships with international institutions, including Boston University and Harvard Medical School.
Medicines and pharmacies in Dubai
Expats will not struggle to find a pharmacy in Dubai as there are plenty across the emirate, and most are open 24 hours a day. Medicines are generally expensive in Dubai, and it's best to keep the receipt if planning to claim medical aid.
Health insurance in Dubai
In recent years, the Dubai Health Authority has implemented new legislation under which all residents must have medical insurance. While Emiratis are covered under a government-funded scheme, expats will need to take out a private health insurance scheme.
Companies are required to provide health insurance for their expat employees. While they will not be required to cover the spouses and children of employees, they are encouraged to do so by the government.
Health hazards in Dubai
Due to the extreme temperatures, heat stroke and exhaustion, sunburn and dehydration are the most common medical ailments affecting expats in Dubai.
Ongoing construction, accompanied by sand and dust from the surrounding desert, can also aggravate respiratory problems.
Pre-travel restrictions and vaccinations for Dubai
It's not always easy to bring medication into Dubai as many medicines that expats might get at home are considered controlled substances in the UAE. Visitors entering Dubai can bring up to three months' supply of a prescription item. In comparison, residents can bring up to 12 months' supply, provided they produce a doctor's letter and the original prescription. Some medications may need the permission of the UAE Ministry of Health to be brought into the country.
In order to obtain a residency visa, expats need to undergo a medical examination and blood tests shortly after arriving in the UAE. All expats are tested for HIV/AIDS, but some expats may also be submitted to tests for syphilis, hepatitis B and C, and pregnancy. Positive results may result in deportation. It is worth noting that a chest X-ray is required in some other emirates, such as Abu Dhabi. This is not a requirement in Dubai. For the most up-to-date information, expats should consult the health and fitness section of the Dubai government website.
No vaccinations are required for the UAE. However, expats should ensure that all their routine vaccinations are current and contact a healthcare professional before travelling to the country to confirm the recommended vaccinations for Dubai.
Emergency services in Dubai
An ambulance service is available in medical emergencies in Dubai and can be reached by calling the number 998 or 999. Operators can usually speak English as well as Arabic.
For non-life-threatening but urgent conditions, expats usually arrange their own transport to the hospital, such as driving (if in a fit state) or taking a taxi.
Clinics in Dubai
Circle Care Clinic
The Circle Care Clinic employs a team of experienced expat doctors specialising in general medicine, paediatrics and family medicine, women's health, orthopaedics, dermatology and radiology. With top-of-the-line facilities and multilingual medical practitioners, Circle Care Clinic is primed to provide excellent care for Dubai's expat community.
Address: 63 Al Thanya Street, Dubai
Hospitals in Dubai
Al Zahra Hospital
Address: Al Barsha 1, Al Barsha
American Hospital Dubai
Address: 19th Street, Oud Metha
Mediclinic City Hospital
Address: Building 37, Dubai Healthcare City