H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah has approved the master plan for Sharjah Healthcare City, according to the Emirates News Agency (WAM). First announced in 2010, the development is planned to be one of the largest healthcare centres in the Middle East covering an area of 2.43 million square metres (26 million square feet) adjacent to the Al Dhaid Road near Sharjah University City. Objectives for the healthcare city include both providing essential services for Sharjah and the northern emirates and providing globally competitive, advanced healthcare services.
The Ruler of Sharjah also approved construction plans for the Sharjah Healthcare City administration building, which will offer office space and units for health clinics. Operating as a tax-free zone under the Sharjah Health Authority (SHA), the city development will offer state-of-the-art facilities for healthcare providers, allowing 100 per cent foreign ownership. The Authority expects investment opportunities to appeal to small, medium or large hospitals, poly clinics, laboratories, rehabilitation centres, wellness centres, residential units, health clubs, consultancy offices, plus storage and production units of healthcare equipment and accessories.
The health care sector has been a focus for economic development by the Government of Sharjah taking steps to help position the emirate as a centre for medical education, research and development, whilst developing the emirate as a destination for medical tourism. The recent introduction of new health insurance regulations has also helped accelerate private sector growth.
The University of Sharjah has led the way in medical education and research, creating Sharjah Medical Excellence Cluster in 2005, adding university colleges for medicine, dentistry and pharmacy to its existing College of Health Sciences. More recently, the university has added Sharjah Institute of Medical Research (2011), University Hospital Sharjah, University Dental Hospital and an Education Leadership and Research centre of excellence. Last year, the university announced plans for a centre of excellence for diabetes and endocrinology research and a centre for nanomedicine.
According to Sharjah Investment & Development Authority (Shurooq), Sharjah’s healthcare sector was worth some AED 7.35 billion (US$ 2b) last year and is expected to grow to AED 8.8 billion (US$ 2.4b) by the year 2019.
Source: WAM, various