A fact long stated, Saudi Arabia is one of the richest and wealthiest nations on the globe. Home to the Holy Mecca, it goes without saying that the country is one of the most rapidly developing Middle Eastern nations, providing a blend of different cultures and traditions from various corners of the world. Apart from a plethora of employment options available for the talented and highly skilled, many industries in the country like retail, real estate and finance have ballooned in the last one decade. But, the most noticeable sector that has come to the spotlight is the Saudi healthcare sector.
The Much Talked About Growth
In the wake of 2011 uprisings in Arab countries, social discontent was a major concern bothering the Saudi government. Consequently, the mediocre healthcare services were helped with necessary amends and a drive to reform the sector has been embarked upon, since then.
Right from introducing ample facilities, to spending on infrastructure, the sector has been completely flipped in terms of economic growth. From a timid budget of USD 8 billion back in 2008, the spending has been exponentially increased to USD 27 billion in 2013. The same figure is expected to soar up to USD 46 billion in 2017, as estimated by NBC Capital — a Saudi asset management firm.
In addition to this, the government is also working on the shortage of qualified personnel for the sector, by initiating partnerships with foreign firms, like GE. There sure does stand chances of greater development in the field, considering the new norms, which allow general citizens to run healthcare facilities in the country, without being healthcare professionals themselves. Plus, experienced personnel in the field have also been given the liberty to move freely within the country, for higher efficiency.
The Hopeful Future
Future growth in the sector is expected to be determined by not just the number of healthcare facilities, but also by fundamental constraints like continual growth of the youth and a drop in lifestyle-related diseases. With full efforts to reduce the common Saudi problems like diabetes, congenital disorders and heart diseases, the healthcare industry here is surely the next big thing to look forward to.
Article by Anshuman Kukreti. An engineer by qualification and an artist at heart, he writes on various topics related to employment across the Gulf. Follow him on Twitter.