Your health is one of those things in life you don’t really pay attention to until something goes wrong. But healthcare should be on your mind when you are thinking about your daily life and the decisions you make.

When it comes to healthcare, each country and region has its own quirks. You here a lot of good stories around the world but also plenty of negatives. One place that is doing interesting things with healthcare is Dubai. The region is attracting a lot of talent, which is leading to impressive healthcare innovation. Not only are there many interesting developments taking place through this concentration of talent, but also due to the pressures any growing city’s healthcare system will have to face when populations increase. So, what are the things to know about Dubai’s healthcare to ensure you stay healthy?

1. Dubai provides public healthcare

Dubai provides public healthcare to its citizens and the service is one of the best in the world. The system is run by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and four major government hospitals. The great thing for many travellers, for example, is that you can get good service and the majority speaks English.

2. Private healthcare is popular options for many

While the city offers public healthcare, you also have the private option available – especially for those who are not UAE citizens. You will need a private health insurance and there are many medical insurance companies to choose from. These allow you to choose from a majority of healthcare providers and you have wider access to specialists.

3. Public facilities will require a medical card

In order to access public healthcare services, you will need to have a medical card, which is referred to as a UAE Health Card. You can apply for this online or at a medical provider. This does require a national ID number and a passport. It’ll also cost but you definitely want to apply for one even if you opt for a private health insurance.

4. Health insurance became mandatory

Health insurance is now mandatory for residents. For most people, your employer is required to provide you with at least a basic level health insurance. Many also choose to improve this basic cover by seeking additional cover from their chosen medical insurance companies. You should remember that you might have to provide additional cover to your family members and domestic workers.

5. Dubai doesn’t have general practitioners (GPs)

If you are from the UK or the US, you might be interested to know that Dubai doesn’t have dedicated GPs. You will need to visit a family doctor or a medical centre, either public or private, in case you need non-urgent help. You can make an appointment for these and deal with issues like consultation and sorting out your vaccinations.

6. You can visit specialists without referrals

Interestingly and different from many other countries and places, you can visit a specialist without a referral. Therefore, if you’d like to meet an oncologist, you can do so without talking to your family doctor first, for instance. However, you can always ask for a referral from your family doctor if you want or need it.

7. Dental care can be expensive

When it comes to finding the right medical insurance companies for your health insurance, you should consider getting dental care coverage. The truth is that dental care in Dubai is expensive, compared to many other regions. There are plenty of dentists and the service is of a high quality but it does cost a lot – so get dental insurance!

8. You’ll need prescriptions to get most medicine

Dubai’s laws in terms of pharmaceuticals are very strict. The medication you might be able to get over-the-counter elsewhere is unlikely going to be available in Dubai. However, the great thing is that most pharmacies are open 24 hours so you don’t have to worry about being left alone with a cough or ache.

9. Expectant mothers should register with hospitals

If you are expecting a child, don’t forget to register with a hospital. This will allow you to receive care from the same healthcare professionals throughout the pregnancy. An important point for foreigners to know is the fact that you have to be married in order to give birth in Dubai!

10. Your health insurance card is enough to get emergency help anywhere

You won’t be left out in the cold – or heat, in Dubai’s care – if you run into a medical emergency. Public hospitals will provide service even if you don’t have a UAE Health Card. You can also prevent your health insurance card that medical insurance companies issue or you can get a provisional Health Card.

Dubai’s healthcare is top notch. The laws are stringent so getting the right health insurance is important and you do want to register with the authorities. But the quality of care is amazing so you don’t have to worry about getting great care!