Rising Affordability And Lifestyle Related Diseases To Boost GCC Healthcare Market - Gulf Business
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Rising Affordability And Lifestyle Related Diseases To Boost GCC Healthcare Market

Rising Affordability And Lifestyle Related Diseases To Boost GCC Healthcare Market

Qatar and the UAE are expected to be the fastest growing GCC healthcare markets from 2013 to 2018, while Saudi Arabia will remain the largest.

More affordable treatment, lifestyle related diseases and increasing insurance penetration are among factors set to increase the size of the GCC healthcare market to $69.4 billion by 2018, according to an industry report.

Investment bank Alpen Capital’s analysis of the GCC healthcare industry projects that the market will grow by 12 per cent annually, from $39.4 billion in 2013.

Outpatient and inpatient markets are expected to account for 79 per cent and 21 per cent respectively of the overall market size.

“We are bullish on the prospects of the healthcare industry in the region. On the demand side, rising affordability, lifestyle related diseases, the treatment of which is both costlier and lengthier, and increasing insurance penetration will ensure vigorous rise in healthcare spending in the GCC. On the supply side, the government is taking measures to ensure that the infrastructure is equipped to handle the increasing demand,” said Sameena Ahmad, managing director, Alpen Capital.

Saudi Arabia is expected to continue to be the largest healthcare market, accounting for 58.2 per cent of the total in 2018, followed by the UAE at 18.1 per cent.

Qatar and the UAE are forecast to be the fastest growing markets in the GCC during the 2013 to 2018 period, with both countries set to see healthcare costs soar due to the advent of new technologies and longer length of stay, as well as better healthcare facilities.

Alpen also said medical tourism in the UAE was growing strongly. Reaching $1.69 billion in 2013, from $1.58 billion in 2012. Dubai Healthcare City was found to be one of the large healthcare tourist destinations in the region.

Demand for hospital beds in the GCC will hit 114,544 in 2018, 11,241 more than in 2013 and in line with expected supply given the number of projects in the pipeline, according to the investment bank.

Middle Eastern employers were found to spend more on healthcare at 6.1 per cent than their other EMEA counterparts (3.9 per cent).

Key growth drivers for the industry include a growing population, set to hit the 50 million mark by 2020, rising income levels and sedentary lifestyles leading to a higher prevalence of obesity and diabetes.

An increasing number of people in the over 65 age group, set to surge from 1.2 million in 2015 to 14.2 million in 2050, is also set to drive demand for healthcare services.

Challenges that remain for GCC governments include increasing private sector participation to finance healthcare expenditure, increasing the quality of healthcare, insufficient medical practitioners and a lack of stringent guidelines on quality standards, according to the report.

Alpen recommended increased focus on preventative healthcare management, encouraging greater private sector participation, moving closer to an insurance claim-based system and the development of education and training infrastructure to meet the region’s healthcare needs.


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