Woman's life in Dubai: what kind of medical care can one expect?
State and private clinics, in collaboration with the UAE government, are working to improve the quality of healthcare and raise awareness among the population about women's health. In this article, we discuss the available services for reproductive health and medical assistance for expatriates.
General info on medical assistance for expatriates
In the UAE, a woman can receive medical assistance with medical insurance. Since 2014, all expatriates residing in Dubai, whether temporarily or permanently, are required to have this document. If your insurance expires, you will be obligated to pay a monthly fine of $135; otherwise, your visa renewal may be denied.
For UAE citizens, medical services at government centers are free, but if you are an expatriate, be prepared to pay for assistance out of pocket. In addition to insurance, you need to obtain a special Health Card.
You can obtain the document at your chosen medical center or submit an online application on the DHA website. For this, you will need:
- Emirates ID and its copy;
- passport with visa and its scans;
- f your visa is in process, provide a visa application;
- property lease agreement or the latest DEWA bill, a document indicating payments for electricity, water, and property; 2 photos sized 35x45.
Available medical services
In the UAE, you can easily find contraception methods such as condoms and contraceptive pills in pharmacies, stores, and sometimes even at gas stations. The most popular brands – Janssen-Cilag, Bayer, Pfizer, and Merck – all cost no more than $8. However, it's important to remember that emergency contraception pills are not available here.
In the UAE, female gynecologists are in practice due to conservative Islamic traditions. To see a specialist, you can call your chosen medical center or schedule an appointment through the app. In both cases, you will need medical insurance.
Through the DHA app, you can schedule appointments, check test results, plan a home visit from a gynecologist, or get a spot in the vaccination queue. The app, developed by the Dubai Health Authority, supports English and Arabic languages and is available for download on iOS and Android devices.
In Dubai, cancer diagnosis is covered by medical insurance and is part of the annual gynecological examination. To prevent cervical cancer, have a cytological smear done every 1-3 years. Results are prepared in about 48 hours, and you can receive them via email.
For ovarian cancer detection, undergo transvaginal ultrasound. After the examination, the doctor will show you images and provide consultation. If a cyst or fibroid is detected, you will be prescribed medication and undergo a repeat analysis after a month.
For breast cancer diagnosis, undergo mammography or sonography; you will learn the results immediately after the procedure. Women under 40 only need to undergo examination once a year, while those over 40 should do so every 2 years. Mammography and sonography are not covered by medical insurance.
If you have entered menopause, your doctor will prescribe hormonal therapy and medications containing the female sex hormone, estrogen. However, you can undergo such treatment only under the supervision of a specialist. Insurance also does not cover the expenses for hormone therapy.
Childbirth in Dubai
Women expecting a baby should:
- work with a doctor to gather health history and undergo medical examinations;
- complete all prescribed tests;
- undergo fetal development monitoring throughout the pregnancy.
If the duration is less than seven months, it is necessary to establish a file at the maternity hospital. To do this, provide:
- Emirates ID, passports, and resident visas of the future parents;
- insurance card;
- marriage certificate translated into Arabic and notarized;
- UAE citizens must also provide a family book, a document listing the husband's wives and children.
Vitro Fertilization or assisted reproductive technology is allowed in the UAE only if a woman cannot conceive for a year or more. Before the procedure, the doctor must issue a certificate confirming that the method will not be dangerous for the health of the mother and the future child. The man must give written consent after consultation, where he will be informed about all potential risks.
The cost of IVF starts from $10,000 and can go up to $19,000. UAE citizens may be eligible for benefits for the procedure, unlike residents of the country.
The law allows spouses to freeze eggs and sperm for five years but prohibits the use of someone else's biomaterial for commercial purposes, scientific research, or transfer to others.
Abortion is prohibited by law in the UAE. A woman can have an abortion in another country, but she must obtain permission to leave from a male guardian – husband, father, or brother, which is practically impossible due to strict cultural restrictions on a woman's movement without a man. Abortions, after approval by a medical commission, are allowed in 2 cases:
- When the fetus develops serious abnormalities, the child is unlikely to survive after birth;
- When pregnancy becomes a threat to the woman's life.
Although even in such cases, abortion is allowed only within the first 120 days of pregnancy.
Childbirth in the UAE is not a free service. Prices for natural childbirth start from $1,100 and can go up to $3,800, with additional charges for pregnancy management and cesarean section. Medical insurance covers about 20-30% of the cost, and the remaining portion must be paid by the individual.
Home births are prohibited in the UAE; in emergencies, a female ambulance team assists the woman in labor. If you prefer alternative methods, water births are available in almost all clinics, but it's advisable to reserve them in advance.
What services are available in the postpartum period?
Among the available services for new mothers in the UAE are consultations within six weeks after the baby's birth and postpartum examinations.
In the medical center, a new mother can undergo tests prescribed by the doctor and learn about her health. If necessary, the specialist may prescribe medications or vitamins and provide therapy for postpartum recovery.
Consultations on breastfeeding and proper feeding are available for mothers with infants under one year. These sessions teach women the basics of caring for a baby in the first months of its life.
According to Article 53 of Law No. 11 of 2008, employers are required to provide paid 60-day maternity leave for new mothers. The woman retains her job and salary during this period.
In the UAE, women can easily find all necessary hygiene products. Stores offer tampons, pads, intimate cleansing products, wipes, and refreshers. Prices for these products are reasonable: a pack of 7-8 sanitary pads can be purchased for $2, and prices for intimate hygiene products start from $5. If you purchase these items online on supermarket websites like Noon or Carrefour, you may receive a discount.
Medical centers for women
Al Zahra Hospital
Al Zahra Hospital in Dubai serves patients from different countries and holds JCI accreditation, an international certificate confirming a high level of medical services and the qualifications of doctors. The center collaborates with insurance agencies NOW Health International, NEXT Care, NAS, and Mednet.
Phone number: +971 4 378 6666
Address: Al Barsha 1, Hadaeq Mohammed Bin Rashid, Dubai
Dr. Fakih's Center
Dr. Fakih's Reproductive Medicine Center is a leading clinic in reproductive health. The medical center has its own laboratory, attracting future parents from across the Middle East. The clinic was the first in the UAE to perform MicroTESE, a method for treating severe male infertility, and also the first to offer PGD, embryo monitoring to detect genetic anomalies.
Phone number: +971 4 349 7600
Address: Jumeirah 1, Jumeirah, Dubai
Mental health support
In Dubai, several centers focus on mental health care, with notable ones being Camali Clinic: Mental Health and Psychology Clinic in Dubai and LightHouse Arabia Centre for Wellbeing, where women can seek help from psychologists or psychiatrists.
The organization for women's protection, With Hope UAE, regularly creates support groups where women can expect warmth and privacy. If a woman faces harassment in the workplace, depression, or sexual violence, she can contact With Hope UAE for support.
Choosing a good clinic and obtaining medical insurance are crucial for your well-being in Dubai. To ensure comfort and have all the necessary documents, call +7 (495) 255-01-61. Our specialists know everything about the UAE and are ready to help you obtain residency for living and expanding your family in the vibrant emirate, as well as assist in investing in Dubai real estate.