Middle East Healthcare: Trends & Opportunities

Vineetha Sony | 02 Jan 2023 | Middle East perspective

The healthcare sector in the Middle East is witnessing a number of trends and opportunities that are shaping the industry.

Some of the key trends that are shaping this sector are:

  • A shift from hospital-based care to outpatient care
  • A rise in chronic conditions such as diabetes
  • An increase in life expectancy which means more people will be living with disease or disability for longer periods

Healthcare expenditure as a percentage of GDP is also expected to increase from 2% to 4%. This growth is driven by the rising population and increasing demand for quality healthcare services. The region’s demographics are also changing due to urbanization and an aging population which will lead to an increase in other chronic diseases such as cancer, and cardiovascular disease. To address this issue, the GCC countries are focusing on preventive healthcare which includes public awareness campaigns, health education programs at schools, and healthy lifestyle programs at workplaces.

The UAE is among the first countries in the world to adopt a comprehensive health system. This system is based on preventive healthcare, which aims to promote healthy living and reduce the risk of illness. The UAE’s healthcare ecosystem has embraced data insights for decision-making in consumer-driven health, with a growing focus on preventive care, advancements in patient care delivery, public-private partnerships, and digital transformation. The federal government has allocated USD 1.33 billion (8.4 percent of the total federal budget) to healthcare and community protection in the federal budget for 2022-2026.

To build a sustainable preventive healthcare program, the Ministry of Health has established partnerships with private sector entities to provide clinical services for patients who need specialized care not available in public hospitals. Therefore, technology-first companies that champion such a transformation led by prevention, prediction, and precision are well placed to enter a rapidly growing market like this.