DUBAI, -- The UAE got its first-ever children's speciality hospital with Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum inaugurating the Al Jalila Children's hospital on Tuesday.

The 200-bed, state-of-the-art hospital will provide tertiary and, eventually, quaternary paediatric healthcare services.

The establishment of the medical facility was announced on 2nd December, 2008. Prior to this, there were no dedicated paediatric speciality hospitals in the entire GCC region.

Back in 2008, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid decided to form a committee, led by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and the Office of HRH Princess Haya bint al Hussein, to work on developing the hospital.

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed stipulated that quality and excellence in healthcare in a child-friendly environment would be strategic goal of the Al Jalila Children's Hospital. He was also closely involved in the design of the hospital.

Altieri, an Italian firm with a 100-year-old global track record in designing hospitals, was given the contract and the project design soon won global recognition for its futuristic style and eco-friendliness. Out of 210 global entries, Al Jalila won the Health Award at the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona in 2009. It also won the Hospital Build Award 2011 for Best Sustainable Hospital Project.

Equipped with the latest medical technologies and located in an eco-friendly building, Al Jalila is well aligned with Dubai Health Strategy 2021 that aims to revamp the healthcare sector of the city and establish Dubai as one of the world's top medical destinations.

"The healthcare sector is high on the list of the government's priorities, and we will continue to work to boost the capabilities of this sector and enhance the infrastructure required to promote its growth. We are committed to providing all the support necessary to ensure this sector is able to provide the highest levels of service. The government is also working to help the healthcare sector meet its vital requirements for human resources, including doctors and nurses, who are key for it to provide services that meet the highest global standards," Sheikh Mohammed said.

Al Jalila seeks to foster clinical innovations, enhance astute learning, create development programmes and change the future with cutting-edge research facilities.

"We have a team of highly qualified clinicians and nurses, who now have the added benefit of a medical, strategic and management partnership with the world-renowned Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, England. We are looking forward to working closely with Alder Hey to better serve our patients," said Dr. Moza Ajaif Al Zaabi, CEO of the hospital.

Al Jalila has also established partnerships and international affiliations with other renowned institutions, including Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai; Neuron, the UAE's largest third-party administrators in medical insurance, and The Hamdan bin Mohammed College of Dental Medicine.

Al Jalila, which runs under the slogan "A Place Where I Can Be A Child", will have six flagship centres of excellence besides all general paediatric care. These include a Heart Centre, a Kidney Centre, a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Centre, a Neurosciences Centre and a Critical Care Centre. In 2017, it will also have a Cancer and Blood Disorders Centre.

"I feel so honoured and excited to see this fantastic dream of my father come to life. I know that all the children of the UAE will love this hospital. I know how hard he works to take care of children and young people, and I am so proud of him," said H.H. Sheikha Al Jalila after whom the hospital has been named and who was present at the inauguration.

The opening was also attended by H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai; H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group; H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and ministers and senior officials.

Source: Emirates News Agency