Healthy wealthy and wise

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health is making massive investments in healthcare. By 2015, the Kingdom plans to have 2,700 primary health clinics across the kingdom. This compares with just 700 that exist today. “Every corner of the country will be covered,” Mohammed Khoshim, deputy minister for planning and development at the Ministry of Health (MoH) told me earlier this month. “Primary healthcare is our cornerstone. We will provide primary, secondary and tertiary care to everyone who is eligible. The private sector will take care of the expatriates and the Saudi’s that work for private companies.”

Thanks to the Cooperative Health Insurance Law introduced in October 2005, about 6 million of the kingdom’s 25 million population are now covered by private health insurers. The legislation demands all expatriates are covered by private healthcare and in 2009 this was expanded to cover Saudi nationals working for private-sector companies and dependents. The effect of this has been the growth and strengthening of the kingdom’s network of private health providers.

But a range of challenges still exist for the health ministry as the Kingdom still has a shortage of hospital beds and rates of heart disease and diabetes are growing.

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