RAK: personalizing life sciences

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In all the world’s nations, irrespective of culture, class, or religion, life is undoubtedly a person’s most important asset. Every benevolent ruler therefore makes his people’s well-being a personal crusade, for without healthy citizens, a country’s development, economy, and society cannot progress. In Ras Al Khaimah, two brand new projects embody Sheikh Saud’s mission to invest in human capital and foster an environment of world-class healthcare in his emirate. In addition to his deputy rulership, the Crown Prince has taken upon himself the position of chancellor of the Ras Al-khaimah Medical and Health Sciences University (RAKMHSU). The university was established in 2006 by the Ras Al Khaimah Human Development Foundation (RAK–HDF) to enrich the emirate’s healthcare provision capacities. In four bachelor courses at the colleges of Medical Sciences and Surgery, Dental Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Nursing, the student community is being prepared to join the medical and health sciences field of the 21st century at international standards. “Sustainable development doesn’t solely depend on building factories and high- rise buildings, but should take into account the most important element of developing the human potential,” the Crown Prince reiterated at the 2007 RAK MED conference and exhibition.

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A new era in health care has also been inaugurated with the public-private RAK Hospital. In addition to providing top-notch medical service to local citizens, RAK Hospital equally extends its concept of premium healthcare with premium hospitality to visitors from abroad, opening up the emirate to health tourism. “RAK Hospital will be the cornerstone of our mission to position Ras Al Khaimah as a preeminent destination for quality healthcare in the region. The venture, seeking to redefine excellence in medical care, is in line with our broad vision to improve the quality of health care, and ultimately, the health status of our people,” explains the Crown Prince.

The $27 million RAK Hospital is a collaboration between the government of Ras AI Khaimah and Dubai-based ETA-ASCON Group. Raza Siddiqui, the group’s CEO, explains that the hospital offers 95 percent of all available healthcare services, from paediatrics to plastic and reconstructive surgery, all within an elevated level of hospitality. The private establishment has already impressed local guests since its start of service earlier this year. “In a period of about two months, we have delivered 60 babies and seen more than 2,500 to 3,000 patients. So it is doing a good service to the people of Ras Al Khaimah,” says Siddiqui.

The ultramodern RAK Hospital is managed by Sonnenh of Swiss Health. Its services are awarded the “Swiss Leading Hospitals” accreditation that applies more than 120 separate criteria in the areas of quality management, physicians’ accreditation, medical care, nursing, hotel-like facilities, and administration. This accreditation pledges to make patients feel secure in all respects to ensure a quicker recovery period. It is fully aligned with Raza Siddiqui’s philosophy of creating a healing environment rather than a mere healthcare facility. “In life, the most important thing is the desire to live. If a person is sick, he should have the desire to get well. We are not talking about illness but wellness.”

Ras Al Khaimah is by no means new to medical excellence. The emirate has pursued life sciences through the Sheikh Saqr Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi-instated pharmaceutical company Julphar since 1980. In less than a decade, Julphar became a globally recognized name, and today is comprised of seven state-of-the-art manufacturing plants, five of which are located in UAE, with one each in Ecuador and Germany. At present Julphar markets its diversified products in more than 40 countries, and has embarked on an aggressive expansion of its plants in seven more countries during the next three years.

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Julphar’s CEO, Abdul Razzaq Yousef, points out that the company has had two straight decades of growth, continuously booking 20 to 30 percent shareholder’s equity, and 2007 revenue of $200 million. The new plants and distribution partners in those countries will increase their upward lift even more, bolstered by a new chain of 2,000 Planet Pharmacies throughout the region. “If we look at the Middle East and Africa region, there is a need for medications, a big need to supply to the whole of the population,” says Yousef, adding that the region is its primary target for expansion.

We have also obtained approval from the Federal Drug Administration to sell our products in the USA, where we are exporting a few medicines.” The success of Julphar exemplifies that RAK is an authority not only in health care, but equally in diversified industrial activity. “For many Americans and Europeans, the Arab countries only have camels, oil, desert, and tents,” says Yousef. “We are not only that; we want to show that we have sophisticated industries with technology, and that needs to be respected.”

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