Saudi Arabia Healthcare System Overview

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Saudi Arabia Healthcare System Overview

Saudi Arabia healthcare system overview

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia healthcare has an estimated population of 26 million residents with an annual growth rate of 2.2%. It caters to a rapidly increasing population and at the same time increasing need on the healthcare sector.

Overall the capability of healthcare facilities tries hard to keep pace with the exploding population, a condition recognized by the Government who has recently introduced initiatives to help the private sector to match the shortfall and take advantage from this potentially lucrative sector. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Healthcare sector is primarily managed by the Government through the Ministry of Health (MOH) and number of semi public organisation who specifically manage hospitals and medical services for their employees. In addition, private sector operators are also having a key role in delivering quality healthcare services in the Kingdom.

The Saudi Arabia Healthcare sector is structured to facilitate a basic platform of healthcare services to all, with specialized treatment facilities offered at some private and public hospitals.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has the biggest and fastest increasing population in the Middle East. The Central Department of Statistics and Information (“CDSI”) estimates the total Saudi Arabia population will get to 31.6 million by 2016, of which 22.8 million will be Saudi nationals. The increasing population, coupled with rising average income, will proceed to feed the need for infrastructure and services, particularly in water, telecoms, energy, and technology, housing, health, education, and financial services.

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Males in Saudi Arabia make up 55% of the total population, the majority of which belong to the 30-34 years of age category, a category between Generation X (1965-1980) and Generation Y (1981 and thereafter). The population below the age of 34 years accounts for close to 60% of the total population in the Kingdom.

The quick growing young population is one of the main factors leading the need for the real estate/ healthcare sectors and the reduction in the average family household size.

As of 2009 (the latest provided governmental statistics), the labour force make up 53% of Non-Saudi and 47% Saudi Nationals. The multiplier effect of Saudization will likely increase Saudi employment statistics.

Key Players Ministry of Health (“MOH”): Approximately 60% of all hospitals within the Kingdom are owned and operated by the MOH. These hospitals serves basic healthcare services, as well as, in certain cases, specialised facility centres. MOH facilities are increasingly being made available mostly to Saudi Nationals only with accessibility to expatriates in majority of cases restricted to specialised treatments except in rural areas where private sector facilities are not present. With MOH facilities slowly being restricted to only Saudi Nationals, the 5.5 million of expatiates (half of which are concentrated in Riyadh and Jeddah) within the
Kingdom are being forced towards the private healthcare sector.

Other Governmental Organizations: Health treatment in other government and quasi organizations is effectively free for employees, typical organizations would include The National Guard, Ministries of Defence and Aviation and the Royal Commission.

Private Sector: Historically most of the outpatient treatments were provided by the private sector. However, increasingly inpatient treatments are also being provided by the private sector due to the high demand and the restrictions placed on entry to MOH facilities. With access increasingly limited to MOH hospitals, most of the expatriates seek treatments at the growing number of private hospitals.

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