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MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) - 22/03/2014
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(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is developing five integrated medical cities intended to offer high quality healthcare services for the populace of the Kingdom to address the rapidly increasing demand for health services, a Kuwait Finance House (KFH) report showed



These cities are expected to add 6,200 beds in the Kingdom moving forward, it said



The kingdom is aiming to achieve a hospital beds-to-population ratio of 3.50 beds per 1,000 people by 2014, which will require adding another 41,000 beds across the country. To accomplish this goal, the government's ninth five-year plan, covering 2010-14, allocates 273.9 billion Saudi riyals for various health initiatives, including the construction of 121 hospitals, 700 primary health centers and 400 emergency centers, it said



Total ongoing healthcare projects in Saudi Arabia stood at USD 14.8 billion which represents approximately 48.5 percent of all GCC healthcare projects in the GCC region - the highest among the GCC countries. Looking at the huge number of healthcare projects, it is imperative that the Saudi Arabia government ensures that the new hospitals, medical cities and health centers have the right personnel in place when they are commissioned, it indicated



There is an ambitious target to double the total number of nurses to more than 130,000 and increase the number of doctors to more than 66,000, a near 50 percent increase. A large number of nurses are presently recruited from the Philippines, Malaysia and Indian subcontinent. The shortage of medical professionals in the Kingdom has never been neglected by the government, it said



To ease the shortage of manpower, Saudi Arabia has invested in expanding the number of undergraduate medical colleges. Some institutions have agreed training partnership with overseas institutions. The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Higher Education, in conjunction with new facilities including King Fahd Medical City, have managed to put in place training plans, both locally as well as in collaboration with international universities and training institutions, to train the workforces, the KFH report added



With the introduction of compulsory health insurance, the Saudi health insurance, and consequently healthcare sector, is expected to grow in the near future as more private companies are now bound to provide medical insurance. Similarly, the GCC and the kingdom's healthcare sector is going through rapid change and most of the governments in the region are encouraging private sector investment in this sector, either through direct investment or through public private partnership (PPP)



All these factors provide an opportunity for private healthcare operators and service providers to enter into a market which offers unlimited potential for growth

The private sector should not wait for governments to do all the foundation work for PPPs. Instead, the private sector can be proactive, conducting its own analyses, such as feasibility studies, and sharing market intelligence with the public sector, the KFH report concluded.

 






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