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Healthcare in Saudi Arabia - statistics & facts

Saudi Arabia spends the most on healthcare in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and the sector remains a major focus for the Saudi Arabian government. Saudi Arabia had the highest share of its gross domestic product (GDP) spent on healthcare compared to its region, however, there was a decrease in the government’s healthcare budget compared to 2021. Saudi Arabia has one of the highest densities of medical professional per thousand residents in the entire GCC region. This was only achievable through intensively recruiting foreign physicians and nurses which resulted in the number of physicians of Saudi and non-Saudi nationalities being very comparable.

Healthcare accessibility in Saudi Arabia

The Ministry of Health (MoH) is the country's regulatory body for all healthcare activities and services. Nowadays, most of the hospitals in Saudi Arabia belong to the Ministry of Health. Saudi nationals and public workers have free access to Saudi Arabia's public healthcare system. Expatriates in Saudi Arabia must seek healthcare from private hospitals, clinics, and health facilities. Prior to 2005, government subsidies funded Saudi public healthcare. Non-nationals have been required to obtain mandated health insurance since 2005, which should be provided by employers and was extended to Saudi private-sector employees in 2016. The country's insurance system is regulated by the Council for Cooperative Health Insurance (CCHI). They maintain that all private-sector employers must provide coverage for employees and their dependents. Despite this, many businesses do not provide it.

Healthcare outlook

The Saudi population has increased over the previous 20 years, resulting in an increase in health-care costs. Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health has steadily raised the number of hospital beds in the country to meet the rising demand. The government cooperated with the private sector to help pay for services along with moving to an insurance-based structure. The Saudi government plans to promote private sector participation to reach 65 percent by 2030 under Vision 2030, with many hospitals and healthcare clinics targeted for privatization.
MOH plans to create health clusters throughout the country to encourage preventative healthcare and to increase accessibility. Each cluster will be a platform to connect healthcare professionals covering one million people. Targets also include raising the number of globally accredited hospitals, reducing smoking and obesity rates, and boosting digital healthcare technology. It was forecasted that smokers in Saudi Arabia would make about 16 percent of the population by 2025.
The rise in income, acceptance of contemporary diets, and a lack of physical activity have all contributed to the emergence of modern health disorders. In Saudi Arabia, noncommunicable diseases account for the bulk of mortality, with diabetes and obesity prevalent among the population. It was forecasted that the share of overweight people in Saudi Arabia would reach 73 percent of the population by 2025. Saudi Arabia will continue to expand its investment on the prevention and treatment of diabetes and lifestyle disorders. The number of primary healthcare center visits per capita was expected to surge compared to 3.4 visits per capita in 2020 as the need for preventive care screening for chronic disease management grows.

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