(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) Sharjah's healthcare sector is expected to grow by 9.3 percent over the next four years, according to a recent study released by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq).
Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal CEO of Shurooq highlighting the potential of Sharjah's healthcare sector, said: "Healthcare is yet another promising sector in the emirate where the increased demand for specialized services is set to drive growth. The industry is expected to grow by 9.3%, from AED4.59bn this year to AED6.55bn in 2016." "This sector is expected to grow significantly, powered by several giant projects and state-of-the art medical facilities currently being set up in the emirate, most notably the Sharjah Healthcare City (SHCC), which was recently announced by H.H. Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah," he added.
"With various new projects in the stage of planning and execution, while many others are in the pipeline, Sharjah's healthcare sector is set to witness a major boom in the months and years ahead," according to him.
The study divided the healthcare sector into two-sub sectors, including healthcare services and pharmaceuticals; with the market size of healthcare services reaching AED2.3bn in 2010 and the market size of pharmaceuticals estimated at AED 0.56bn in 2011. Both sub-sectors are expected to grow by 9.3 percent in 2016.
Al Sarkal noted, "Despite growing demand for healthcare services and pharmaceuticals, only a few players operate across the sector's value chain, thus indicating that opportunities still exist for foreign players to undertake strategic partnerships with local and regional institutions to tap the potential of the undeveloped healthcare market." According to the study, the upcoming demand for healthcare services is estimated at AED2.7bn in 2012, as there are only 15 hospitals accommodating 898 beds in Sharjah. With the Emirate's growing population, it is estimated that Sharjah will require additional 633 beds over the next five years.
It also shows that there are only eight pharmaceutical manufacturers in the UAE, including one in Sharjah and 275 pharmacies in the emirate, indicating the need to increase number of establishments currently available to cope with the growing demand. Meanwhile the upcoming demand for pharmaceuticals is estimated at AED 0.71bn in this current year.
Al Sarkal expressed confidence in Sharjah's promising future in all sectors especially the healthcare sector, supported by HH Sheikh Sultan's initiatives and directives to transform the emirate into a regional healthcare hub, as well as the emirate's reputation and profile on the global stage.
He referred to the selection of Sharjah as the Capital of Arab Tourism for Year 2015 in addition to its titles as the Capital of Arab Culture for 1998 and the Capital of Islamic Culture for 2014, which would add a new feather to the emirate's cap of landmark achievements and draw further international attention and investors to Sharjah.
In a bid to further improve the well being of its people, Sharjah is also set to join the global WHO (World Health Organization) Healthy Cities programme.