The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on Wednesday said it has partnered with a Middle East provider to build the region's very first pediatric center. The state-of-the-art facility is slated to open in Abu Dhabi in 2017.
The United Arab Emirates is in "drastic need of establishing a systematic approach to broadening and improving pediatric care across a range of specialties,” said Dr. Ali Obaid Al Ali, CEO of Abu Dhabi Hospitals at VPS Healthcare, in a statement.
According to UNICEF, while the child mortality rate has been dropping in the Middle East since 2000, 415,000 children in the region continue to die every year before their fifth birthday.
The agreement between Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and VPS is the first of several joint initiatives that grew from an agreement signed by them last October. Both organizations committed to establishing standards of excellence for pediatric care.
VPS, based in Abu Dhabi, has 16 hospitals across the Middle East, Europe and India. The agreement with CHOP will further VPS' reach, according to a news release.
VPS pediatric patients who require specialized treatment will also have access to CHOP's Philadelphia hospital, according to the release.
Training and education of future and current doctors is also part of the agreement. Both organizations will provide medical education, training and conferences for doctors throughout the region. VPS physicians can travel to CHOP to learn best practices.
The announcement was made at the annual Arab Health exhibition and congress, held in Dubai. This is CHOP's first alliance in the Middle East.
Arab countries have begun to present new opportunities for the healthcare industry. According to a Deloitte report published in 2015, healthcare spending represented 4.8% of Saudi Arabia's gross domestic product in 2013 and 3.5% of the GDP of the UAE.