Standards of healthcare are considered to be generally high in the United Arab Emirates , resulting from increased government spending during strong economic years. According to the UAE government, total expenditures on healthcare from 1996 to 2003 were US$436 million. According to the World Health Organization, in 2004 total expenditures on health care constituted 2.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and the per capita expenditure for health care was US$497. Health care currently is free only for UAE citizens. The number of doctors per 100,000 (annual average, 1990?99) is 181 and life expectancy at birth in the UAE, is at 78.5 years According to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, the UAE is ranked forty-fourth in the world in terms of health care.
Cardiovascular disease is the principal cause of death in the UAE, constituting 28 percent of total deaths; other major causes are accidents and injuries, malignancies, and congenital anomalies. Diabetes, Smoking, and also Cancer, are also the main causes of death in the country.
The UAE now has 40 public hospitals, compared with only seven in 1970. The Ministry of Health is undertaking a multimillion-dollar program to expand health facilities and hospitals, medical centers, and a trauma center in the seven emirates.
To attract wealthy UAE nationals and expatriates who traditionally have traveled abroad for serious medical care, Dubai is developing Dubai Healthcare City , a hospital free zone that will offer international-standard advanced private health care and provides an academic medical training center; completion is scheduled for 2010.
In 1965 the Abu Dhabi government employed one physician; three others were in private practice. The Emirate also received technical and material assistance from Egypt . After federation in 1971, rapid growth but a lack of coordination characterized the health system. Although cooperation in the health field among Emirates had improved by the early 1990s, oil companies and the military continued to have their own medical facilities.
In 1985 there were 2,361 physicians, 6,090 nurses, 242 dentists, and 190 pharmacists, almost all of whom were foreigners. In 1986 the UAE had forty public hospitals with 3,900 beds and 119 clinics. In 1990 life expectancy at birth was 68.6 years for males and 72.9 years for females. The major causes of death registered in Abu Dhabi in 1989 per 100,000 populations were accidents and poisonings, 43.7; cardiovascular diseases, 34.3; cancer, 13.7; and respiratory diseases, 8.1. Infant mortality declined dramatically from 103 per 1,000 live births in 1965 to twenty-three per 1,000 live births in 1990. In 1985 a health worker attended 96 percent of births.
In the early 1990s, the UAE had a modern health care system with facilities and professionals capable of providing excellent care and performing advanced procedures such as organ transplants and complex heart surgery. Although facilities are concentrated in the cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai , most of the population has access to at least basic facilities. The federation's first hospital specializing in pediatric and maternity care, the 374- bed Al Wasl Hospital in Dubai , opened in the late 1980s. The New Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi , a private facility, is equipped to treat diving accidents. Most hospitals are run by the government.
The UAE also has created an extensive social welfare network that includes family care centers aimed at solving domestic problems and training women in domestic skills and handicrafts. Psychological care is available for troubled youths. The National Assistance Law provides benefits to victims of catastrophic illnesses and disasters. Widows, orphans, the elderly, the disabled, and others unable to support themselves receive social security payments