Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences Launches the First Teddy Bear Hospital in the UAE
Teddy Bear Hospital is the 1st of its kind in the UAE tailored to help school children overcome feelings of anxiety when visiting a hospital
Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, MBRU, launched Teddy Bear Hospital, a first of its kind in Dubai and the UAE. Teddy Bear Hospital is a program designed to teach school children hands-on about medical procedures, and to decrease any preconceived fears of doctor visits. MBRU’s Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Medical Simulation Center, the largest in the UAE, is home to the newly launched program.
Teddy Bear Hospital merely began as an idea submitted to Mohammed Bin Rashid Smart Majlis titled “Create a class in school to treat sick toys”, the idea was directed to Knowledge and Human Development Authority, KHDA, for review. After studying the initial idea, KHDA directed it to MBRU in order to study its feasibility. MBRU’s Simulation team reengineered the initial idea and Teddy Bear Hospital came to life.
Mahra Al Shehi, the 6-year-old Emirati girl who was called “an Emirati angel and the queen of children” by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, attended the first session of Teddy Bear Hospital along with 3 other children aged 6 to 8 years old.
The Teddy Bear Hospital session kicked off with the children changing into their personalized scrubs provided by MBRU. Then they were led to the Simulation Center by the team and a number of MBRU medical students where they checked-in their teddy bears into the hospital. Upon admission they met with the doctors to discuss the bear’s medical situation. The teddy bears underwent a CT scan, and were led into the surgery ward to get anesthetics before their operation. The children awaited their teddy bear’s at the observation room where they were brought out with an intravenous, IV, drip and bandages. Upon completion of the medical procedures, the children were ready to go home, they met with the doctors to discuss the bear’s medical results and handed the children the image from the CT scan along with their medical report.
Helen Henderson, Lead Simulation Educator at MBRU said, “Teddy Bear Hospital creates a unique educational opportunity for children across the UAE. It’s a great initiative, and one of its kind in the country. The program introduces children to the basics of healthcare through firsthand experiences where we aim to downplay the fear children experience when they go to hospitals.”
“We, at MBRU, are very proud of the program, and our goal is to really change the children’s perspectives for the better. We want to diminish any negative feelings of anxiety the children experience when visiting a doctor. In the future we hope to tie this program with the school’s curriculums, and make it a part of the overall education experience in the UAE,” Henderson further added.
Nujood Al Khloofi, Director of Communications and External Relations at MBRU commented, “I am both proud and happy to witness this initiative come alive. We have been working on this project for quite some time, and by all means it’s a great opportunity for children to learn about the medical field in a friendly environment. Whether the students are going to the nurse at school, or visiting a doctor, the children will have to be exposed to the medical field in some way, and that is where Teddy Bear Hospital comes in. We’re fortunate to have a state-of-the-art Simulation Center, a fully-equipped facility which mimics the exact setting of a hospital, allowing us to provide such a distinct experience for the children.”
The newly launched Teddy Bear Hospital program is open for school children ages six to eight. Teddy Bear Hospital is offered on complimentary basis to all schools in the UAE, bookings must be done in advance to attend the sessions. The program can host up to 20 students at a time, in which the students will later be divided in smaller groups of 4 to 5. Upon completion of the program the children will also understand the basics of healthcare, how to properly wash their hands, the basics of CPR, and bandages.