Public Administration Assignment Paper on Public Health Services

Public Health Services


Public health can generally be described as the art and science of preventing diseases (Teaching about health systems in the UAE, 176). This is done in order to prolong life as well as to promote health using the organized efforts of the society. Therefore, public health is an area of interest in public administration. The overall vision of public health is promoting greater health as well as well-being in the most sustainable way, and at the same time intensifying integrated health services and eliminating inequalities. Usually, the public health approach would involve working with different sectors in order to address various determinants of health (Teaching about health systems in the UAE, 176). In this paper, the organization of the health services in the United Arab Emirates will be discussed in detail. It will discuss the role played by various stakeholders in this sector, including the key role played by the health professionals. It will also discuss some of the challenges facing this sector. To complete the discussion, the paper will also analyze the public health services in China, and compare with those in United Arab Emirates.

Improved living standards are some of the factors used to measure the economic development of a given country. When the living standards are improved, public facilities such as healthcare services would be improved in order to increase the life expectancy of citizens. These healthcare facilities include the public as well as private hospitals, clinics, insurance facilities, among many others. As a beginning to this comparison, I will compare the general spending on health in both China and the United Arab Emirates.

Table Showing Healthcare spending In China and UAE

Healthcare Spending (% of GDP) Private spending on health (% of all health spending) Per Capita Total spending on healthcare (ppp int. $) Per Capita Government Spending on health (ppp intl. $) Doctors Per 10,000 Population
United Arab Emirates 3.7 25.6 1544 148 19.3
China 5.1 46.4 379 203 14.15

From the above table, the government of the UAE spends about 3.7% of its total GDP on healthcare services while that of China spent up to 5.1 % of its GDP on the healthcare services alone. These statistics are according to the World Health organization (Watson, 88). Looking at these statistics, someone may easily conclude the government of China has put more concern in healthcare that the government of the UAE. On the contrary, the UAE that has better-improved facilities thus spends less on the health related issues.

Healthcare is one of the priority sectors, which have been identified by the government of the United Arab Emirates. Therefore, the healthcare industry in the UAE has experienced tremendous growth as well as significant development within the past few years. The focus of the government on healthcare has not only targeted to diversify its oil-reliant economy, but it has also aimed to develop the unprecedented healthcare infrastructure. This has been done in order to ensure there are adequate healthcare services in the Emirates.

On the other hand, the macroeconomic growth of China has helped it to make significant developments in many public health aspects. For the past 20 years, the child mortality rates have reduced by more than half while the life expectancy for the Chinese has increased significantly. More hospitals have been built (Watson, 20). However, unlike in UAE where the health sector is at the same level of development as the economic development, the Chinese health sector is currently far behind the economic developments in the country. Whereas the healthcare sector is among the key sectors that are given first priority in UAE, this is not the case in China. This is because as a country is focusing on other sectors of economic development in order to improve the living standards of its citizens.

The government of the United Arab Emirates is spending a lesser percentage of its GDP on health care services as compared to the Chinese government. This is because the healthcare system in the UAE is well established than in China. The healthcare sector of the UAE is usually regulated the Federal level, as well as at the Emirate level. The Federal level regulation was established in the 1970s and became well established in the 1980s. It has been undergoing various reforms since then (Teaching about health systems in the UAE, 176). In fact, there are still some pending legislative reform initiatives, which have to be done on it. This is will be done with the aim of facilitating the development of the UAE healthcare industry. Apart from the Emirates, there are two other free zones located in Dubai (Woodman, 49). These are the Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park as well as the Dubai Healthcare City. Their particular bodies regulate these zones. All these bodies perform their duties independently, but in accordance with the ministry of health.

The Ministry of Health of the United Arab Emirates was established under the Federal Law No. 1 of the year 1972 (Woodman, 2012). The purpose of the establishment of the ministry included licensing of the companies as well as the individuals that were providing healthcare services to the citizens, building and managing health facilities, regulating the different areas of healthcare, such as the practice of nursing ,dentistry, pharmaceuticals, medicine , and laboratories. This ministry is supposed to provide the citizens of the United Arab Emirates with healthcare, proper health facilities, preventive as well as training programs, and organizing the practice of the healthcare profession (Woodman, 60). In addition, the ministry has to establish, manage, as well as supervise the health facilities.

In order to perform its roles effectively, it has a set of federal healthcare laws, which it administers. The ministry regulates the registration and licensing of both the private and public pharmacists, physicians as well as other healthcare specialists as stipulated under the Federal Law No. 5 of the year 1984 (Woodman, 65). In addition, the ministry is responsible for the definition of the specific requirements that are necessary for the establishment and the licensing of private and public medical clinics, laboratories, and hospitals within the United Arab Emirates. The ministry executes this role as stipulated in the Federal Law No.7of the year 1975 and Law No. 2 of the year 1996 (Woodman, 70). Moreover, the ministry governs the pharmaceutical professions as well as their establishments. It also governs the imports, production, and the dissemination of all pharmaceutical products. The ministry executes this role according to the Federal Law No. 4 of the year 1983 (Woodman, 54).

On the other hand, China has also a unique health care system. Just like the UAE, China has been struggling with the establishment of a basic healthcare system, which aims at providing effective, low-cost health services to its citizens. As opposed to the UAE where the health care is managed at two independent levels; the Emirate level and the federal level, the government controls the entire health sector of China through the ministry of health as well as via the local authorities (Barber & Yao, 29). Despite this, there exists a Hong Kong Hospital Authority (HA), which is independent from the government. It was established with an aim of managing all the public hospitals in the city of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Hospital Authority can be compared to the authorities in the United Arab Emirates such as the Dubai Health Authority. However, this authority is accountable to the government through the secretary of Health and Welfare.

The well-established health care system in the United Arab Emirates has contributed to reduced incidences of health related problems. In addition, there is improved infrastructure within the country. The health facilities, including the pharmaceuticals, clinics, hospitals, among other facilities are well distributed in all the emirates. In addition, these facilities are easily accessible. This has resulted to reduced levels of healthcare facilities, making the affordable to most citizens. This is the reason why according to the table, the private spending on health accounts for only about 25.6 % of the total spending on the health sector, according to the report by the World Health Organization. Moreover, the country has relatively sufficient health practitioners as well as professions. In fact, there are approximately 19.3 doctors for every population of 10,000 people (Teaching about health systems in the UAE, 176). This is despite of the high population in the United Arab Emirates. The success that has been experienced within the UAE health sector can be attributed to the well-established authorities. These have worked hard to ensure that the health services in the entire UAE are affordable.  

On the other hand, the health system of China is not as developed as in UAE. The health resources are unequally distributed in China. Some areas, especially big cities, tend to have better facilities such as big hospital while the rural areas lack such facilities. This has made accessibility to health facilities impossible to some citizens. The large population in the country of about 130 million people has worsened the situation even further. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, China has less number of doctors, with about 14 doctors for evry population of 10,000 people. However, the country has been implementing health reforms in order to address some of the challenges in the Chinese health sector. Despite the reforms in the sector, Chinese still experiences the problem of inadequate access to affordable healthcare services. This is especially in rural areas, where about 39 % of the residents are not capable of accessing skilled medical treatment, in spite of the economic developments in the country. In the urban areas, about 36 % of the residents are finding medical treatments to be very expensive (Watson, 66).

While the government of the UAE has always concentrated of upgrading the primary healthcare services such as hospitals, clinics, among other facilities, the health reforms in China are targeting at improving the insurance cover for the Chinese citizens. The Chinese government is planning to enroll about 440 million urban employees as well as resident into the Urban Employee Basic Medical Insurance (UEBMI) (Barber & Yao, 188). The problem is that the public insurance programs have failed to manage effectively the available resources in providing the required services to the citizens. However, this does not imply that the Chinese government is only reforming the insurance factor. In fact, the entire health sector is undergoing reforms.

The government of the UAE has been putting more efforts in the regulation of the healthcare services with an aim of modernizing the entire healthcare system. Throughout the last decade, the government has been working to achieve this through the creation of new authorities as well as by issuing new regulations (Teaching about health systems in the UAE, 177). Despite this, there are certain areas that remain unclear within the UAE healthcare system. For example, there exists a problem when it comes to the division of power as well as authorities among the different regulatory entities. To be specific, there is a problem of power division between Emirates and the Federal levels as well as between the various entities at different levels. In fact, there exists some overlap between these various authorities. In particular, there is overlap of power in relation to the licensing and in monitoring and controlling the medical institutions.

In addition, the growth of the UAE healthcare sector has been bolstered with the rapidly growing population of about 65 % over the past four years (Teaching about health systems in the UAE, 2012). The increase in health problems in the UAE has been caused by the shifts towards sedentary lifestyles as well as food diets. In addition, the responsible governments have failed to address these issues effectively.

The United Arab Emirates is also experiencing the problem of non-communicable diseases. The non-communicable diseases have increased at an alarming rate. These diseases include obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. In fact, it is feared that some of the complications that are caused by these diseases may further increase the long-term costs on the healthcare system that is already over-stretched. Presently, there is great demand in the entire UAE for special services. These include facilities for women, diabetes care as well as management, pediatric facilities, and oncology. In fact, the UAE usually spends about Dh 2.4 billion, which is almost $650 million on the medical costs that are related to diabetes. This figure is even expected to rise up to 58 % by 2020 (Teaching about health systems in the UAE, 177).

Whereas the UAE is spending much money fighting the problem of the chronic Non-communicable diseases, this is not a major problem in China despite it being an industrialized country. The government of China is spending its resource mainly in preventing such diseases. These efforts have helped in bringing down the morbidity, as well as the mortality rates of the chronic diseases significantly (Watson, 83). Consequently, this has helped in reducing the disabilities arising from chronic diseases. However, chronic diseases remain a challenge to the government of the United Arab Emirates.

In summary, even though the status of the healthcare sector in the United Arab Emirates is different, both countries are putting more efforts in this sector. The main aim of these governments is to improve the living standards of its citizens.

Works Cited

Barber, S. L., & Yao, L. (2011). Development and status of health insurance systems in   

            China. The International Journal of Health Planning and Management.

Watson, M. (2013). Health care reform and globalization: the US, China and Europe in comparative perspective. London: Routledge.

Woodman, J. (2012). Patients Beyond Borders Dubai Healthcare City Edition. New York: Healthy Travel Media.

Teaching about health systems in the UAE. (February 01, 2012). Medical Teacher, 34, 2, 176-      177.

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