Prospects of Homeopathy in UAE               
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Homeopathy in UAE is getting stronger by each day, being born in 2001.  It is a good thing to say that it is healthy and very much active, from our first hand experience. So far more than two hundred homeopaths are practicing in UAE. About fifty homeopaths are there in Dubai itself. Abu Dhabi and Sharjah being other major cities where many homeopaths can be found.

 

UAE Government approved practice of Homeopathy in the country in the beginning of 2001.  A separate section was established under UAE Ministry of Health (MOH) for Complementary and Alternative Medicines (TCAM).  To allow these practitioners to work in UAE a qualifying examination (TCAM exam) is held by MOH about four/five times a year, and so far more than 250 homeopaths have qualified to practice in UAE.

 

        For practicing in UAE first one needs a recognized qualification in homeopathy from their country of origin. Next they should get a license from the Ministry of Health (MOH) through the TCAM exam. The procedure for the same is described below. After getting the license one should register for permission from the respective local governments (municipalities) depending upon in which emirate of UAE (the country of UAE is made up of seven emirates) you intent to practice and one will get this permission only after getting the license from MOH. Remember that even after getting the above two documents one can do the practice only under an existing medical institution, obviously an allopathic one as there are no Homeopathic institutions there yet. Because currently the system here is of poly-clinics (means two, three or more doctors practicing under a single, OP only, medical establishment). In most of them you can see a homeopathic physician also. The big hospitals with IP facility has not yet started to employ homeopaths.

 

        Please note that so far there are no government job opportunities in homeopathy in UAE, either in teaching or medical practice. In fact at present there is no teaching institutions in homeopathy in UAE except one private school which is an annex of a UK institution and offer a UK based certificate qualification only. Also note that no one can do any kind of medical practice in UAE without clearing the MOH/DHA/DHCC/HAAD examination first. Another point is that currently TCAM practitioners are allowed to practice only as part of a polyclinic or independently. There is no provision for Homeopaths or any other TCAM specialists to practice in a hospital.       

        For starting a separate individual Homeopathic clinic one should get a permit for starting/running a clinic which usually costs a hefty fee and also provided only to those who gets a 'license to practice independently' by MOH. This is awarded rarely only.

        The current procedure is that after procuring the license from MOH one goes on a job hunt by contacting various poly-clinics asking whether they need a homeopath. Alternately one can also check classifieds columns in news papers here which give the vacancies. Then after one find out an establishment/sponsor they together work out the remuneration and make a contract (work agreement). Then the establishment approaches the local government for the above said permission and after getting that permission from the health ministry apply to the labor department for the labor card. Remember that all these time the person will be on a visit visa unless he/she is under the sponsorship of the parents or spouse (which is a non-employment resident visa). If the person is on visit visa, after procuring the labor permission apply for an employment visa as a physician from the immigration department. After procuring all these four documents (License from MOH-UAE, Permission from Local Health Ministry, labor card and and employment visa -if one is not already under a resident visa-) one start practicing here in UAE. In other words one can start the practice only after procuring all these four documents. The whole procedure takes about one month after one getting the MOH license. Out of which only the MOH license is an examination and all the others are just formalities.

Procedure of Exam Application including Syllabus (for all branches of TCAM)       

The MOH examination is of a simple structure but analyze in depth the capacity of the physicians.  As of now the requisite qualification to sit for the examination is equivalent to BHMS from India (with the MOH reserving the rights to alter it in case of experience and expertise otherwise). The candidates should also need a minimum of two years' practical experience after the internship. The TCAM exam consists of two parts.  The first, a written examination (now a days conducted online using computer terminals) for 100 marks is a mixture of MCQ and short-answer questions.  This is a common test for all the branches of complimentary and alternative medicines like Homoeopathy, Ayurveda, Unani, Acupuncture etc.  This is based on General Medicine and the questions are of good standard.  Those who clear this examination will be called for an interview, where a panel of experts (Allopathic doctors and experts of TCAM specialty) will judge the capacity of the candidate as a physician.  The respective TCAM specialty knowledge (like Homeopathic) is assessed in this part.  The successful doctors will be given an evaluation certificate with register numbers, which is the license to practice TCAM discipline in UAE. This is a one time procedure like the qualifying examination and is valid life long provided you continue to practice in UAE and procure enough CME credits every year.  As of now the examination is held in Dubai in once every three months. Click here for the next TCAM examination. 

For help in preparing for the examination- note again that only portions from General Medicine (Internal Medicine) will be asked for the written examination. For this it is best to have a thorough knowledge in Practice of Medicine based on Davidson’s and Harrison's textbook of Internal Medicine. For familiarizing with the MCQ it is advisable to go to USMLE (US Medical Licensing Examination) type of multiple choice questions from various websites where a number of MCQs are given. The rank file from your country's MD entrance examination is also a good aid. But remember that your practical knowledge is what counts, especially in the interview. Note that knowledge in your field of specialty (Homeopathy/Ayurveda etc.) is tested only in the interview, if you first pass the written exam. Overall the standard of the examination is in between undergraduate and post graduate (for Homeopathy between BHMS and MD) level of Indian Medical Syllabi.

Recently MOH has made some changes in the application procedure. The registration should be done online at https://smartforms.moh.gov.ae:444/Login.aspx (new users sign up by clicking 'Create New Account' link). After logging on to your account upload soft copies of all the documents including that of First aid/Basic Life Support course from MOH accredited centres in UAE (for details please click here). Then pay the prescribed fee (presently AED 50 for written exam and AED 50 for the interview) using a credit card. After this MOH will intimate you about acceptance of your application and then you need to pay another fee for Primary Source Verification of your credentials with Dataflow centre. This whole procedure can take up to two months time and so it will be better to start the application procedure at least two months in advance of your preferred date of examination. The candidates have to bear the travel and other expenses for the trip and also make their own arrangements for their visa. Further clarification about all these can also be had at the MOH website “www.moh.gov.ae”.  Please note that prior to applying for the exam one should get their qualification documents endorsed by the UAE embassy in their country (for details see documents needed).

 Finally one word of caution too; the Ministry of Health has made the examination procedure more strict and stringent recently and so if any of you plan for an appearance give it a thorough grind!

 

Even though the system of alternate medicine got official blessings in the recent times, Homeopathy was never a stranger in the peninsula.  Many people there depend on Homeopathy for their treatment.  While some of them bring medicines from their home countries a few go to clandestine (qualified) practitioners for this end. 

 

As all major cities of UAE are cosmopolitan in nature one get people of all walks and classes of life here.   So there is never a shortage of supporters to the system. It is reassuring to see that even the labor classes, who can't miss even a day of their work, come to Homeopathy for their ailments.  Another pleasant surprise is the support by local/native population. One another factor is that the common illnesses met with here like UTI, RTI, infertility, Headache alopecia etc. are responding wonderfully to the simple medicines.  The unique climate and life style being the main culprit, the task of the physician is made much easy. 

 

Another welcoming thing is the number of patrons coming up to sponsor Homeopathic clinics.  All the major healthcare establishments have a Homeopathic section also along with their institutions.  The doctors who already cleared by MOH and started their practice here sounded enthusiastic and hopeful about the future.  The large Indian population also sounded relieved that at last they could get quality Homeopathic treatment nearby.  

 

One minor obstacle yet to be overcome is the problem with dispensing medicines.  As of now no permission is given to dispense the medicines by the physicians.  Even if this is of vital importance to successful Homeopathic practice the doctors here have to depend on sealed bottles of pre-medicated pills of a fixed dose, which is to be dispensed as a whole to the patient.  The trouble with this is that often there won’t be the necessity of that much doses of medicine and it will eventually lead to over dosage.  The other points being the heavy cost of these sealed bottle preparations, which jeopardizes the very claim of cost effectiveness of the system and the non availability of a number of essential drugs in the sealed form as those are not yet approved by MOH.

 

We hope the problems will be solved as the system grows up.  Once the results start coming up the system will sustain itself as it has done in many other countries and the obstacles will be melted away one by one.


        
Last, but not the least- we would like to emphasis once again the point. No one can do any kind of medical practice in UAE without a proper licence from the MOH/DHA/DHCC/HAAD. To get this you need proper qualification and some prior experience from your country of origin. Please do not forget it.

 

[Dr. Abdul Gafar, the then Editor-in-Chief of Homoeopathic Medical Panorama had an extensive tour in UAE in May 2003. This is brought in for the reference of all those who would like to sit for the MOH examination as well as those who like to know further about homeopathy in UAE. This is the elaboration of an original article appeared with the same title in Homoeopathic Medical Panorama- April-June 2003 issue]

 

Dr. Abdul Gafar cleared the MOH exam with first rank and has practiced homeopathy in Dubai till 2007. Presently he is in India on a State Government job and will return to UAE only after some time. We offer a package consisting of guidelines and tutorials to candidates who wish to sit for TCAM (MOH) examination of UAE under the guidance of Dr. Abdul Gafar.
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