The UAE, overall, boasts modern and sophisticated medical infrastructure, and healthcare facilities in Abu Dhabi are world class and easily accessible to expats. Most public hospitals offer good quality healthcare, but many expats still choose private medical centres, and some even opt to return to their home countries for complicated surgeries or specialist procedures. Nevertheless, the standard of healthcare in Abu Dhabi is high, English is commonly spoken and much of the medical staff are foreign-trained expats.
Healthcare facilities in Abu Dhabi
Both public and private healthcare facilities are available in Abu Dhabi, and the level of care and comfort is highly regarded across the board.
Many expats still hold onto the perspective that public facilities largely function as emergency service centres, and private facilities and clinics are more appropriate for everything else. Regardless of this viewpoint, an expat's specific health insurance coverage dictates in which hospitals they can receive treatment.
Doctors in Abu Dhabi are generally thought to be accessible, and service is prompt. For the most part, all health workers speak English, though some are more proficient than others. Many health workers have received their education abroad, and it’s not unusual for expats to seek out professionals with accreditation from their home country.
High prices accompany healthcare in Abu Dhabi, but all expats are legally bound to have health insurance, which usually covers most of the costs. Where there are exceptions to this rule, expats will only have to finance a small co-pay.
Health insurance in Abu Dhabi
Health insurance is a mandatory prerequisite to obtaining a residence visa in Abu Dhabi, and is generally organised and financed by the employer.
Depending on the company, expats will be granted local, international or both types of health insurance. It’s then the individual's responsibility to extend this coverage to their family, though expats in senior positions may be entitled to company coverage for their dependants as well.
The extent of a policy’s coverage often varies according to the job level of the assignee; however, for the most part, basic medical and dental are covered.
Once registered for a health insurance policy, expats will receive a health insurance card. This is then presented at the appointed hospital or clinic to receive care.
Pharmacies in Abu Dhabi
There are many pharmacies across Abu Dhabi, and most are open 24 hours a day.
Laws pertaining to drugs in the UAE are very strict, and certain medications, such as sleeping pills and anti-depressants, are prohibited from being sold over the counter. A prescription will be needed for such medicines.
Medication in Abu Dhabi is generally expensive, and it’s best to keep the receipt if planning to claim from medical aid.
Health hazards in Abu Dhabi
The extreme summer heat in Abu Dhabi, particularly from June to September, is something that many expats may struggle to adjust to. Temperatures can average around 100°F (40°C) during this season, peaking in August. Many expats plan long family holidays during this period to escape the uncomfortably hot conditions.
As a result of the soaring temperatures, heatstroke, sunburn and dehydration are common ailments for expats living in Abu Dhabi, and sensible precautions are advised for those partaking in any outdoor activities.
Sand and dust storms are also common, and can aggravate any pre-existing respiratory problems.
Vaccinations and pre-travel requirements for Abu Dhabi
No vaccinations are required for entry and residence in Abu Dhabi; however, a certificate is required for cholera and yellow fever if arriving from an affected area. Tap water in the city centre is safe to drink, but elsewhere only bottled water should be consumed.
Expats must pass a health exam to be granted their residency visa, and those that test positive for HIV/AIDS and pulmonary tuberculosis will be denied entry. Additionally, food handlers, housemaids, nannies and barbers must test for hepatitis B and syphilis.
Emergency services in Abu Dhabi
Local facilities are well-equipped and professionals are well-trained to handle most emergency situations. Expats can dial 999 for any emergencies.
Hospitals in Abu Dhabi
Some of the more popular hospitals for expats in Abu Dhabi include:
Al Noor Hospital Khalifa Street
Address: Khalifa Street, Abu Dhabi
Address: Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi
Address: Corniche Road East, Abu Dhabi
Sheikh Khalifa Medical City
Address: Al Karama Street, Abu Dhabi
►Education and Schools in Abu Dhabi provides an overview of the education system and schooling options for expat children in the emirate.
Are you an expat living in Abu Dhabi?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Abu Dhabi. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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