Umm Al Quwain General Hospital sees the light

مجلة مدارات ونقوش – العدد 26 – 27

 2,157 عدد المشاهدات

Khalil Al Barri

In March 1977, the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum visited the late Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Mualla, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Umm Al Quwain. He saw that the hospital project was stalled and when asked about the status of the hospital, he was told that its construction was not completed. Thus, HH Sheikh Rashid dispatched HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, Minister of Finance and Industry, Chairman of the Dubai Health Authority, to complete and equip the hospital at Sheikh Rashid’s own expense.

Umm Al Quwain Hospital, a witness on the UAE’s cooperation values

These directives came from Sheikh Rashid’s belief that the health of citizens is one unite across the UAE; there is no difference between the citizens of Dubai and Umm Al Quwain, nor between the citizens of Abu Dhabi and Fujairah or Ras al-Khaimah and Ajman.

The implementation of Sheikh Rashid’s directives to complete the hospital through was covered in a reportage published in the “Dubai News” magazine at the time, which stated:

Ensuring free treatment for the people and raising their health level has been at the forefront of the concerns of officials in the UAE, since the establishment of the Federation. Large hospitals were constructed in the cities, medical clinics were built in villages and different areas to provide medical and health care to the citizens near their residence.

Today, we shed light on the story of Umm Al Quwain hospital, which has been deserted for a long time, until HH Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum ordered to equip it at his own expense, and here is the story:

Auspicious visit

One day, HH Sheikh Rashid was on a visit to Ahmad bin Rashid Al Mualla, Ruler of Umm Al Quwain.

Rashid meeting Ahmed Al Mualla

 He saw that the hospital project was stalled and when asked about the status of the hospital, he was told that its construction was not completed and that the Ministry of Health did not complete it, despite the fact that four years have passed since its establishment! Thus, HH dispatched HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid to complete and equip the hospital at Sheikh Rashid’s own expense.

In this regard, HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid talks to us, saying:

We started work to achieve what HH Sheikh Rashid wanted. We instructed Dr. Juma Belhoul, Director General of the Department of Health and Medical Services who headed of a group of experts and doctors in a visit to see the hospital. Dr. Juma found that the hospital needed some adjustments and, on this basis, we agreed to bring the things required from the MOH

Hamdan bin Rashid talking about Umm Al Quwain Hospital

HH Sheikh Hamdan adds: what we care about is the high level of health services for our citizens.

It is expected that the buildings and roads in the hospital will be completed within six months, and the equipment will be installed two months later, so the hospital will be operational before the end of the year.

When we asked His Highness, who will bear the hospital expenses?! He answered: All the expenditure is funded by Sheikh Rashid’s own money with open budget.

After examining the blueprints of the hospital, Dr. Juma Belhoul discovered many mistakes. In this regard he says:

For example, the doors of the operating room were so narrow that we could not bring the necessary equipment into the room, so we had to demolish and expand them.

Juma Belhoul

The absence of a fence exposed the hospital to damage, bringing the renovation cost up to ten percent of the total costs. In addition to the absence of a kitchen, a water tank, an electrical complex or phones. We’ve developed a detailed work plan to make the hospital operational as soon as possible. This will cost around 6 million dirhams.  We proceeded with maintenance and repairs, and requested hospital supplies from MOH.

Mr. Sultan Rashid Al Kharji, Director of Umm Al Quwain Medical District, told me: The buildings lack too many things, and what made it worse is the disparity between the first and second phases due to the difference in the designers and implementers, not to mention the lack of vital things for the hospital such as: kitchen, generator room and cleaning unit.

Sultan Al Kharji

Based on ongoing communications, something urgent will be done to operate the hospital; rooms for a water tank and electricity will be built. As for the kitchen, we will be cooking and washing in the old hospital.

Al Kharji continues by saying: We have 13 general practitioners, two internists, one female pediatric consultant, one female gynecologist, one ophthalmologist and one surgeon. If we need more, the cabinet will approve even if this is not included in the budget.

When I went to meet HH Rashid Al Mualla, the Crown Prince, he received me warmly.

Rashid Al Mualla talking to Akhbar Dubai

After the introduction, HH started talking: The topic of the hospital became known to everyone, its implementation started more than 4 years ago and it is not over yet.

We have asked the ministry several times to complete it, but it has not. After a long wait, no such thing happened, so I asked HH Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum to help complete it, and thankfully, he answered that immediately.

What are the real reasons behind the delay?

I really do not know, and the Cabinet did not explain to me the reasons. However, it was said that the MOF did not pay the budget.

Pages from the Hospital reportage

I would like to point out that what the MOH has spent on the hospital up to now is about 3 million dirhams, and the maintenance and equipment costs paid by Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed are estimated at 10 million dirhams. This generous gesture by HH Rashid bin Saeed will raise the health level in Umm Al Quwain and its regions. This gesture was not the first one; he previously ordered the renewal of the water pipeline network and the construction of public housing.