BY PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today,
The newly-announced Federal Health Authority (FHA) will be headquartered in Sharjah, with strategies to ensure quality and efficient medical care for the people of the Northern region.
The initiative is intended to provide a comprehensive healthcare coverage for the residents of Sharjah and the Northern Emirates only. The establishment will take over the executive responsibilities of the MoH, and the latter will now focus purely on legislation and regulation, according to health officials.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) officials said that the new structure will take over the management of all government sector healthcare facilities including hospitals and clinics that are operational in these Emirates, by end of 2010.
Dr Hanif Ali Hassan, the Minister of Health and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the FHA, said, "The body will also take over the responsibility of running other health facilities like therapeutic services, medical research and the development of specialised skills which meet the best international standards."
According to him, the Authority may also establish facilities inside and outside the country as directed by its board, which will be appointed by the Cabinet.
"The work of FHA will represent the priority status of healthcare for the government and its leadership. It will also develop hospitals as accredited teaching facilities, and promote cooperation and partnerships between public and private healthcare providers," he added.
As per the Federal Law No. 13 for the year 2009, approved by the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed last week, the FHA is an autonomous body with an independent budget and legal status to manage the public sector.
Abdulla Al Ahmadi, a senior MoH official, said that the purpose of the newly-formed body, is to raise competitiveness among the public healthcare service providers as well as private sector firms.
"The 'healthy' competition will improve the services further, even though it's a long process. The FHA will enable our health sector to compete at the local, regional and international levels, by implementing the latest methods and techniques and working according to international best practices," he said.
"The FHA will be responsible for drawing up licensing procedures for professionals at the local level, but for drugs licensing it will be in charge at the federal level," he added.