UAE steps up plans to beat drug addiction
Health officials leading UAE efforts to help beat drug addiction announced a series of new measures to combat the issue.
Dr Hamad Al Ghaferi, head of the National Rehabilitation Centre, said non-Emirati residents were now being offered treatment at half the usual price.
He also announced an additional 40 new staff would be joining the medical team at the centre next year.
Additionally, numbers of beds available to patients would be expanded, he said, with the creation of a specialist ward for adolescent addicts.
“We are revising the prices we are giving [foreign residents] and encouraging them to come and seek help,” Dr Al Ghaferi said.
“We started offering the discounted rate three months ago. And we are working with health insurance [officials] to cover mental health and addiction in their packages.”
Dr Al Ghaferi was speaking at an event in Abu Dhabi aimed at combating addiction, held in co-operation with the World Health Organisation.
He emphasised that Emiratis seeking help with drug addiction could still be treated free, and that new rates for foreign residents were now far lower. He said the new prices were a quarter of the rates charged in other countries for the same level of service.
Since 2016, the NRC has treated 117 non-Emiratis via its inpatient and outpatient clinics. The centre treats about 800 patients at its outpatient clinics each year.
Dr Al Ghaferi went on to outline the centre’s expansion plans in terms of staff numbers and available beds at the unit. He said a new adolescent ward would be opened next year with an initial six beds. Young people currently make up 10 per cent of the centre’s inpatients. He also said a female patient unit would be increased from the existing eight beds to 15.
“We will start with six to eight beds [for the adolescent ward] and increase gradually based on need,” he said. “We can increase to 12 and go up to 24 max.
“In 2017, we started working on raising qualifications [of staff] on a ministerial and managerial level, and on governance of services and treatment protocols and how to deal with new substances.
“We are working towards raising standards of healthcare.”
We are revising the prices we are giving [foreign residents] and encouraging them to come and seek help Dr HAMAD AL GHAFERI National Rehabilitation Centre