Prince Amir Al Saud

Healthcare Industry Reforms in Middle-East Countries

Healthcare Industry Reforms in Middle-East Countries


There is a mixture of opportunities and challenges for stakeholders in health care system in the entire Middle Eastern region. These include healthcare legislators, providers, health insurance firms, companies, technology corporations, and patients. In fact, the Gulf Cooperation Council or GCC and member-nations are working very hard to transform their respective healthcare settings.


Policymakers want to diminish burden of expenses on the state by implementing compulsory health care insurance. The private sector, on the other hand, is urged to assume a bigger role. As a result, the Middle East is experiencing major reforms and twin-digit growth. The fast-growing population in leading ME countries and lifestyle-related medical disorders complement this deluge of investment prospects in this industry. There are five countries that this treatise will focus on.



The United Arab Emirates (UAE) employs an obligatory health insurance program.  Abu Dhabi implemented a successful health insurance program that could not be matched by other Gulf nations especially Kuwait. Abu Dhabi’s accomplishment sets a paradigm in the Middle East for the process of carrying out this type of makeover. The framework was put in place by the UAE as early as 2012. It is merely conducting improvements of disagreements that crop up during structural modifications.


Among the main factors that triggered the successful execution of Abu Dhabi’s new health insurance scheme is the manner by which this process was changed from theory to actual practice. It started one decade ago with the enactment of Law #23 on Abu Dhabi health insurance. This legislation served as the legal structure so insurance agencies; brokers; healthcare practitioners; and, 3rd-party overseers are governed properly. After this stage came more than two years of preparations prior to the implementation of the first phase of strategy. All legal aspects were reviewed and applied to foreigners and their dependents living in the UAE. The development’s second phase was begun after the THIQA System was introduced in 2008. This was designed for all Emirates nationals.  It is supervised by Daman which facilitates transactions between the country’s finance ministry and health care centers. Nationals were given THIQA cards as replacement for previous health cards.


Saudi Arabia

Many industries in Saudi Arabia such as retail, real estate and travel have grown during the last 10 years due to oil-supported growth. Unfortunately, healthcare has fallen behind partly because of an inefficient bureaucracy. This resulted into run of the mill quality of government-managed healthcare which turned into a political liability for the government. Many Saudi nationals complain about hospitals filled to capacity and lack of medicines.


Standards of healthcare provisions in Saudi Arabia pale in comparison with its riches. The International Monetary Fund ranked the Kingdom number 30 worldwide according to per capita gross domestic product (GDP). Ironically, it only has 2.2 hospital beds for every 1,000 residents far lower the average of 5.5 in well-developed nations. Local publications often report complaints of congestion, poor hygiene and maintenance that result in pest invasion and infections.


As a result, the Saudi government waged a campaign to reform the health and constructed hundreds of hospitals. It now offers interest-free loans to private firms and modified health insurance policies. This can transform the country into one of the fastest-growing most important healthcare markets within the next few years globally. This can help expand the economy provide a bonus to overseas corporations supplying medicines, apparatus and key services.



Bahrain has spread out its health care and pharmaceuticals industries. Principal strategic reforms during the past decade have been very moderate. Yet, changes are bound to happen so the government can cope with numerous issues associated with the free health-care system. These are concern for efficiency, quality of service, over deployment, mounting public expectations for more services, and demand for the latest medical technologies.


Since the Alma- Ata declaration in September of 1978, Bahrain has continued to underscore primary care as the foundation stone of its health services. Through the years, incessant efforts have been geared toward intensifying the position of primary health care in Bahrain. This is shown by the development principal health facilities and support for personal wellbeing responsibilities. Alma-Ata underscored the need for pressing deeds by governments, health workers, and international community to promote the health of all citizens.




There have been large-scale plans to privatize components of Kuwait’s healthcare services. These initiatives are building momentum as the government embarks on a two-fold thrust to decrease waiting times in government hospitals and entice more investments to this sector. The Kuwait government is boosting private sector participation under its extensive $110bn development plan by setting up public-private partnerships that will even out many major projects.



Recent reports stated that factors contributing to Qatar’s growing healthcare market are the increasing population and billions of dollars the government plans to spend on new hospitals as well as healthcare services during the next few years. Qatar’s new health insurance program was given approval last year by former Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani. Under that process, all Qatar nationals must have health insurance before the end of 2015. Coverage will be shouldered by the government while expats’ premiums would be the responsibility of employers.


These efforts of the governments of UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar are aimed at improving their respective healthcare programs.

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