Over the past decade, the United Arab Emirates has invested significantly in the medical field, and its efforts have not gone unnoticed.

The country was recently listed among the top 10 countries in the world when it comes to efficiency in the healthcare sector, according to a report published by Bloomberg. 

The GCC nation topped Arab countries when it comes to healthcare governance, attaining an efficiency score of 59.7. 

According to the report, the life expectancy of UAE residents stands at 77.1, and healthcare expenditure per capita amounts to $1,402 (5,100 dirhams). In total, the report analyzed nearly 200 economies across the globe.

Arab countries included in the ranking

  1. UAE (No. 10 globally) 
  2. Lebanon (No. 23)
  3. Algeria (No. 33)
  4. Saudi Arabia (No. 46)
  5. Jordan (No. 48)

The UAE's healthcare sector has tremendously improved in recent years

Earlier this year, an Emirati man became the first person to undergo a liver transplant procedure in the country. The procedure was considered a historic milestone for the UAE healthcare sector.

Mohammed Al Kuthairi underwent the life-saving surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi and told The National that he would be dead if it weren't for the operation.

In 2016, the UAE legalized organ transplantation

In 2016, the UAE passed a federal decree legalizing transplantation from both the living and deceased, a significant push forward in healthcare governance in the country. 

Under Federal Decree No. 4, residents of the UAE can legally donate certain organs (hearts, lungs, kidneys to name a few) and tissues (bones, cornea, heart valves, etc...).

For living donors, it is "restricted to relatives within the fourth degree and couples married for at least two years".

The law prohibits the "sale" of human organs and tissues, bans unlicensed advertising of transplants as well as funding transplantation if the organs are sold. A person caught making money off organs faces a fine, and possibly prison time.

UAE flag
Source: Shutterstock

A national survey conducted by the Mohammad bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) revealed that nearly 68 percent of respondents said they were ready to donate their organs if they were brain-dead.

The UAE is not the first Gulf country to legalize organ donation; Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain have done the same in recent years.