Founder President, Gulf Medical University
The focus of the Gulf Medical University is in the three core areas of Medical Education, Healthcare and Research. The University is promoted by the Thumbay Group U.A.E. Thumbay Moideen, Founder President, Gulf Medical University in an interaction with eHealth shares insights about the medical education in Gulf Countries
What is the present medical education scenario in Gulf Countries?
There is a strong relationship between the number of medical schools and physician density; hence, more medical schools in low density areas will certainly increase the physician density. The local population travel to foreign lands for quality medical care and the health care needs of the local population can be adequately catered for. More medical schools, whether private or public, can meet the need of an ever expanding population and have the potential of enhancing access to health care for all sections of society.
The Gulf States have started on the right note. They have invested wisely in infrastructure and allowed the private sector the required incentives in the form of land, adequate autonomy and freedom to set up centers of excellence. The results of these progressive approaches will be seen in a few years when a good number of doctors and other health professionals qualify from these institutions.
However, access and affordability of healthcare to their citizens has already been assured with the emergence of doctors of native origin. The system is sure to grow from strength to strength in the future.
What are the loopholes faced by the medical education system in Gulf Countries? How can they be removed?
Medical Education in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is well monitored by competent and efficient governmental bodies under the Ministry of Higher Education. In fact, in recognition of the quality higher education in the UAE, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has received an international accolade from the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE), an agency that is comprehensively in compliance with the Guidelines for Good Practices (GGP), set by INQAAHE. The U.A.E MOHE is the fifth accrediting authority in the whole world to receive the same.
What is your opinion about medical training in Gulf Countries?
Medical training in the Gulf Countries is at par with most of the US and European countries and medical training in Gulf Countries is well accepted worldwide.
What needs to be done with medical education in Gulf Countries to bridge the rural-urban healthcare divide?
Value based medical education is one way to do it. I once heard an eminent Indian doctor answering on a TV channel when asked “Why should doctors alone suffer from the burden of nobility?” This says it all; noble service is beginning to be seen as a burden.
Secondly there is a genuine issue; doctors who want to work in the rural areas worry about their children’s education as the schools in rural areas are of a poorer standard compared to those in cities. No one wants to compromise the future of their children. Therefore, the Government must address this issue.
Another genuine problem faced by rural doctors is the problem of continuing medical education. Their peers in cities have many opportunities for upgrading their knowledge and skills and even to pursue further and higher education. This is where governments can play a big role by establishing technology enabled learning hubs.
“Public Private Partnership will not only create jobs locally but will also provide an alternative source of revenue generation through the export of such education via technology mediation globally”
Health system can also be such a huge generator of jobs. What are the initiatives in medical education in Gulf Countries?
At present the focus seems to be largely on providing formal medical and allied health professional education at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Healthcare sector linked job opportunities do exist particularly in pharmaceutical industry, health insurance, medical tourism, optical accessories retailing, retailing of home based health care monitoring devices, and sports and exercise therapy. A few universities such as the Gulf Medical University are offering short term courses aimed at preparing candidates for employment in these areas.
This is important in the context of not only filling up existing vacancies but also generating new employment opportunities and promoting entrepreneurial endeavors in the sector. Further, these short courses will also help promote correct health awareness through workforces trained by qualified and experienced academics and practicing professionals.
Public Private Partnership helps in developing vocational training and education for the health sector. Allied industries will not only create jobs locally but will also provide an alternative source of revenue generation through the export of such education via technology mediation globally.