Health system reform in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The desire to achieve the best outcomes in the provision of healthcare has driven health system reforms in many countries across the globe, including the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. As a young state (the United Arab Emirates was founded as an independent state in 1971) with a diverse (with 78% expatriates) and young population (40.23% of the national Emirati population is under 15 years of age), the government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has embarked on a journey to reform their healthcare system. This reform focuses on the redesign, financing, regulation and provision of healthcare with the aim of delivering accessible, affordable and high quality health care. We will describe and review the health system reform in Abu Dhabi to date: its background, history and characteristics. The review looks at whether the main components of the reform (mandatory health insurance; enhanced competition and a centralized regulatory system) have had the desired effects in terms of improving quality, enhancing access and ensuring affordability. Looking toward the future for the health system in Abu Dhabi we conclude that it is too early to tell whether the reform programme is having the desired effects in terms of achieving its goals of quality, access and affordability.