Posted on July 10, 2015

Qatar’s spending will remain “elevated” in the healthcare sector given the country’s substantial reserves with BMI Research projecting an expenditure of QR19.1bn this year compared with nearly QR17.5bn last year, said Gulf Times. According to BMI Research Qatar’s healthcare sector will experience strong growth over its forecast period on the back of sizeable expansion projects in the country. Growing private sector engagement and increasing health insurance coverage will also drive healthcare market growth in Qatar, it said.

In Qatar’s pharmaceutical sector, BMI Research projects an expenditure of QR2.12bn this year compared with QR1.9bn in 2014. “Qatar's risks are particularly low in comparison with the rest of the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, although its potential rewards are dampened by the small market size. Nevertheless, Qatar's high level of urbanisation, rapid population growth and rising prevalence of chronic lifestyle diseases creates an environment in which there is strong potential for market growth,” BMI said.

In BMI's Pharmaceutical Risk/Reward Index for the MEA matrix in Q315, Qatar has retained its position in the MEA matrix of fourth place, with the country's score this quarter increasing to 55.5 out of 100. Qatar's Supreme Council of Health (SCH) announced its plans to make diabetes tests mandatory for the entire population. The plans were announced in April and the SCH will soon launch a national strategy focusing on the prevention of the disease, BMI Research said. Three more primary health centres joined the national health insurance scheme- Seha, bringing the total number to five in March 2015. The three centres are Omar Bin Khattab, Al Gharafa and Al Daain. 

The scheme will be implemented in all primary health centres in a phased manner with West Bay and airport centres providing Seha since October 2014. Seha has covered all citizens for basic health needs and, according to BMI Research it will be extended to expatriates in 2016. It provides mandatory health insurance coverage through a network of public and private providers and forms a key component in the realisation of the country’s National Health Strategy and the overall Qatar National Vision 2030.

Seha was borne out of Qatar’s long-term development goals, in particular the Qatar National Vision and the National Health Strategy, which calls for the establishment of a social health insurance system that brings greater efficiency and transparency to the nation’s healthcare sector. Quoting earlier reports, BMI Research said the leading private hospitals in Qatar had urged authorities concerned to review the entire system for importing drugs and allow them to import several life-saving medicines directly. The development comes due to a surge in the number of patients at private clinics and hospitals with the implementation of the national health insurance scheme.