Her Excellency Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, UAE Minister of Community Development, inaugurated on Monday 21st January, the first child and adolescent mental health ward in the GCC at Al Jalila Children’s, the only paediatric hospital in the UAE. The inauguration marks another milestone in a short span of time since the hospital’s opening in 2016.
H.E. Hessa Buhumaid was received by Dr. Abdulla Al Khayat, CEO of Al Jalila Children’s, Dr. Mohamed Al Awadhi, COO, and senior management of the hospital. H.E. was given a tour of the 200-bed facility and briefed on the clinics and services available, that was followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new ward with the whole Mental Health Centre of Excellence team attending.
Her Excellency the Minister of Community Development lauded the hospital’s recognized pediatric services noting that embracing such a specialty world-class paediatric hospital with international standards in the UAE, strengthens its position as a leading model for all the community members in line with the government’s efforts to achieve the UAE 2021 vision in creating a world-class healthcare system.
Her Excellency said: “The directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Makotum, Vice President, UAE Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai was to establish a speciality paediatric hospital that reflects the visions of His Highness in providing the younger generations with exquisite medical and healthcare services and ensure a sustainable development and promising future for the UAE community.”
Her Excellency elaborated that opening a mental health ward for children is a step in the right direction especially in the current conditions and developments. “There are so many misconceptions governing the community members about children’s psychiatric diseases. It is our duty as the Emirati community to stand together and correct these concepts through unique initiatives such as today’s initiative in Al Jalila Children’s,” she said.
Her Excellency Hessa Bint Essa Bu Humaid, said: “The child right’s law known as “Wadima” and its executive by-laws that has been issued lately provide a safe and happy childhood life, maintain high levels of nurturing and upbringing of children positively, taking into consideration, the common roles of individuals, institutes and community in this regard. The detailed articles of the executive by-laws protect children against abuse, promote exemplary care efforts and involve various community members to safeguard the future of the country in line with the UAE directives towards giving sustainability, prosperity, leadership and development.”
The Mental Health Inpatient ward at Al Jalila Children’s provides highly specialised multidisciplinary assessment, intensive support, treatment and management to children and adolescents and their families who present with severe mental health difficulties that can’t be managed through other programmes or in the community. The unit caters for those up to the age of 18 years old, and consists of 10 beds.
Dr. Abdulla Al Khayat commented on the occasion by thanking Her Excellency for gracing the inauguration. He said: “We are truly honoured and thankful to Her Excellency Hessa Bint Humaid for her gracious presence today. H.E. was always a big supporter of community care focused initiatives, and the long track record of similar successful initiatives by the Ministry of Community Development is clear proof of its impact on UAE’s wider community.”
“The creation of the first, specially designed and equipped, mental health ward for child and adolescent inpatients will serve to fill a notable gap in the region for such a service, and we strongly believe that many children will benefit from this initiative, especially that it is managed by some of the best multi-disciplinary mental health physicians in the world.”
The ward is part of the comprehensive services offered by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Centre of Excellence at Al Jalila Children’s. The team at the Centre comprises of specialised and experienced mental health clinicians, including Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists, registered mental health nurses, and a clinical psychologist, along with specialist input from clinical social work, speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapists, and child life services. All clinicians that work within the Centre and the newly opened ward bring an array of international experience, along with up-to-date, and evidence-based treatment approaches.