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Predictions 2016: Aster DM Healthcare chairman and MD Azad Moopen

Predictions 2016: Aster DM Healthcare chairman and MD Azad Moopen

GCC governments will look to private healthcare to reduce public spending

BY AZAD MOOPEN

I have been in the United Arab Emirates for almost 30 years now and every single year has been transformative and engaging, including 2015. From increasing diversity in the workplace to opening new clinics and hospitals, I have had the privilege of investing and engaging with my team and business this year – in addition to expanding into education, centres of excellence and of course providing continued professional and highly dedicated medical services.

The healthcare industry as a whole has experienced multiple opportunities for growth. We have witnessed increasing demand for quality, accessible and affordable healthcare facilities due to the rising population of migrants within the Middle East. This has also enabled heavy flows of investment in medical research, medical tourism, innovation and digital transformation.

In light of the positive investment Aster DM Healthcare has been working on ensuring healthcare services are accessible to all of the community. Today, we have over 290 establishments, 13,500 employees, 1,500 doctors and more than 160 pharmacies. We have also opened a hospital in Sharjah under the Medcare brand, a hospital in Dubai exclusively for women and children under the Medcare brand and hospitals in Abu Dhabi and Qatar under the Aster brand. During this period, we also increased our stake at Sanad Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to 97 per cent.

However, our business is not solely defined by our acquisitions and revenues. I am proud to say that we have also spearheaded multiple community efforts outside of the business operations. Our socially responsible initiatives include a mobile clinic offering free medical services to thousands in the Philippines and free medical consultations, and surgeries within the United Arab Emirates. Furthermore, recognising the growing importance of South East Asia, we recently opened the Aster Medical and Diagnostic Clinic in the Philippines.

Last year saw a dynamic series of events, both in the global economy and world affairs. The World Bank predicted tough times for most developing countries in 2015. While this was true, and we have experienced lower oil prices and higher borrowing costs – we are still standing afloat, weathering the storm and powering through. I expect the same for 2016, a year which will present opportunities and challenges. Technology will revolutionise traditional business models for healthcare, as people become increasingly dependent on wearables and telemedicine. I also expect an increase in private healthcare within the Gulf Cooperation Council region as governments try to reduce high budgetary spending.

Lastly, with an increasing migrant population and Dubai’s 2020 Vision to attract 20 million visitors, I definitely foresee an increase in medical tourism, along with higher quality healthcare and investment in innovative medical solutions.

The healthcare industry will always remain a necessity and as long as you are providing affordable and high-quality healthcare, you will be able to sustain economic growth. We look forward to welcoming 2016 with positivity, readiness and strategic thinking.

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