Saudi Arabias healthcare sector expected to grow 12 percent in 3 years

An increase in of chronic diseases and the ageing of population in Saudi is expected to be a cause of the Saudi Arabia’s healthcare market which could grow by up to 12 percent by 2012. According to research company RNCOS. “The healthcare sector in Saudi Arabia seems very promising and is expected to outpace the growth rate of other countries in the Middle East region in coming times,” said the report.

“However, there are several factors, like high cost of healthcare treatments in the country, economic dependency of the country on oil rates, which are imposing a negative impact on the growth rate, but these are expected to be overcome in near future by government efforts,” it added.

In order to assess the current systems appropriateness to meet other objectives (descriptive) for a national health care system, it is useful to compare Saudi Arabia’s health care system to other countries in the Gulf, and Middle East and the North Africa Region in terms of demography, health status, delivery system characteristics and health expenditures.

Demographic indicators:

Saudi Arabia’s population growth rate and total fertility rate (TFR) are the highest in the Gulf and among the top three in the middle East North Africa (MENA) region; and
Saudi Arabia’s share of population over the age of 65 years is below the regional average.
Health Indicators:

Saudi Arabia’s infant mortality ratio (IMR) is the lowest in the MENA region. Saudi Arabia’s IMR also is the second lowest in the Middle East (after Kuwait). Relative to other countries of the world that are comparable to Saudi Arabia in terms of income, Saudi Arabia’s IMR is above the trend line.
Saudi Arabia’s maternal mortality ratio (MMR) is one of the lowest in the region. Compared to Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia’s MMR is the median; compared to other countries of comparable income level, Saudi Arabia’s MMR is slightly lower.
In terms of adult mortality, Saudi Arabia’s probability of death for males and females from the ages of 15 to 60 years is below the MENA regional average for men and for women but among the highest in the Gulf.
In terms of life expectancy at birth, Saudi Arabia’s figures are above the regional average and the second highest for the Gulf countries (after Kuwait). Compared to other countries in the world with the same income level, Saudi Arabia’s life expectancy at birth figures are at the global average.
Saudi Arabia’s malnutrition indicators are about average for the region but among the poorest in the Gulf : 14 percent of Children under the age of five are underweight ; 20 percent are growth stunted; and 11 percent suffer from wasting or are acutely malnourished.
Conversely, over-nutrition is also becoming a serious problem in KSA with an estimated 25 percent obesity prevalence in women and 15 percent in men.
Delivery System Capacity :

Saudi Arabia’s physician-to-population ratio is well above the MENA regional average but around the median for the Gulf countries. Its physician-to-population ratio is higher than other countries worldwide that have comparable income levels.
Saudi Arabia’s hospital bed-to-population ratio is above the regional average near the average for the Gulf countries. Its hospital bed-to-population ratio is much lower than other countries worldwide that have comparable income levels.
Health Expenditure :

Saudi Arabia’s per capita (GDP) is above the regional average and above the average for the Gulf countries;
Saudi Arabia’s public share of total health spending is well above the regional average and at level comparable to the high public share Gulf countries. Its public share of total health spending is well above the average for the countries worldwide that have comparable income levels.

Saudi Arabia’s per capita total health spending is above the regional average but below the average per capita spending found in other Gulf countries. The country’s per capita total health spending is slightly below the level found in other countries worldwide that have similar income levels.

Saudi Arabia’s per capita public spending is above the regional average, below average for the Gulf, and above the level found in other countries worldwide that have comparable income levels.
As a share of GDP, Saudi Arabia’s total health spending is close to the regional average and above the Gulf average, while the public health spending to GDP ratio is above the regional average and near the median for the Gulf.

Saudi Arabia’s total health expenditure-to-GDP ratio is slightly below that found for other countries worldwide that have comparable income levels, while the public health expenditure to GDP ratio is above the global average.

In summary, in a comparative international context, Saudi Arabia health outcomes, except for maternal mortality, are average or slightly worse than those in most other countries with a similar income level and compared to the Gulf countries; population growth and fertility are above most of the countries in the region and Gulf; bed and physician to population ratios are above the regional average but above for physicians and well below for hospital beds the ratios found in countries with a similar income level ; and Saudi Arabia’s total health to GDP ratio is slightly below the ratio found in other comparable income countries, but its public health to GDP ratio is above the global average of comparable income countries. Likewise, per capita total health expenditure is below the levels found in countries with similar income levels, while per capita public health spending is above the levels found in other comparable income countries. The public share of total health spending is well above the regional average and the level found in countries with similar incomes