Mena’s healthcare market set to grow from $185.5b to $243.6b in ’23


A panel discussion is in progress at the Mena Hospital Projects Forum 2022 in Dubai.

Staff Reporter, Gulf Today

Healthcare market opportunities, especially the new hospital projects in the Middle East and Africa region – worth $68.8 billion – come under sharp focus at the two-day Mena Hospital Projects Forum 2022 that takes off  in Dubai.

The high-profile two-day international conference takes place at a time when the healthcare sector in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region is witnessing a phase of significant growth due to increased demand for healthcare services. A recent report by Fitch Solutions suggests that the Mena region’s healthcare market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.7 percent from $185.5 billion in 2019 to $243.6 billion in 2023.

More than 250 delegates including senior government officials, project owners, developers, healthcare industry experts and key stakeholders will examine and discuss these opportunities including $23.8 billion worth of new hospital projects that are in the pipeline, at the Mena Hospital Projects Forum to focus on the growing opportunities in the $243.6 billion healthcare sector that needs additional hospital beds, doctors, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.

With a young and vibrant population that is growing at a fast pace, the MENA region will need a large number of hospital beds, clinics, pharmacies, operation theatres, medical laboratories, physiotherapy centres and associated facilities in the coming decades.

Dr Younis Kazem, CEO of Dubai Healthcare Corporation, said, his organisation has published a roadmap for public-private partnership (PPP) in new hospital projects for future needs in Dubai. “We are talking to a number of investors in the healthcare sector where the demand is growing, especially in rehabilitation clinics, mental healthcare facilities and dialysis centres. We have a number of PPP models through which investors can develop healthcare facilities – be it a hospital, clinic or other health-related facilities.”

Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner, Great Minds Event Management – organiser of the MENA Hospital Project Forum, says, “As the economic growth accelerates due to an increase in the young and working population, the healthcare market is also witnessing strong growth that necessitates the development of new hospitals, clinics, laboratories, health resorts, health research centres, medical colleges and medical cities.

“With mandatory healthcare coverage and health insurance scheme, all the countries of the MENA region will have to build more hospitals and clinics, resulting in an increase in hospital projects in the region.

“So, opportunities are abundant for architectural consulting firms and suppliers who specialize in healthcare projects, especially hospitals and clinics. The good thing is that the opportunities are growing at a faster pace than other economic sectors.”

The UAE government has been the primary investor in the country’s healthcare sector: in 2019, it funded approximately 69 per cent of the country’s total healthcare expenditure of Dhs58.7 billion, according to reports. However, the private sector has been increasing its investment in the UAE’s healthcare over the last decade.

Healthcare spending in the UAE will reach up to $26 billion by the year 2028, according to a joint presentation by UAE Ministry of Economy and UAE International Investors’ Council, which also say that the UAE has 700 healthcare projects under development with total investment of US$60.9 billion (Dh223.5 billion), mostly carried out by the private sector.

Dr. Essam Howayyer, Director of Hospital Department, Emirates Health Services, UAE, said, the UAE has a vision to offer universal healthcare coverage (UHC) to all UAE nationals and expatriate residents.

“The UAE has a healthcare strategy that aims to provide healthcare services to all UAE nationals and expatriate residents and we are also looking at providing healthcare support to visiting tourists. We are doing a lot of transitional projects to make healthcare more accessible to all by inducting new technology, telemedicine to reach out to everyone living in communities.”

He said, the role of the private sector is very crucial and it is growing. “We have laid out the government’s healthcare vision for the next 20-30 years to the private sector so that they can plan their investment in the areas where private investment is needed. The private sector has a great role to play in our healthcare sector in future.”

Most GCC residents used to seek treatment in India, Singapore and Thailand. Now, in recent years, the medical sector has developed vastly in the UAE and other Gulf countries as well. UAE’s global appeal to medical tourists continues to rise and its contribution to the economic growth of the country is significant.  The UAE launched medical tourism portals which made the lives of medical tourists much easier with the services such as direct contact with healthcare providers, visa issuance, booking appointments, hotels, transportation etc.


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