Patients in the UAE have the best access to healthcare in the Middle East as the country rolls out mandatory medical insurance and harnesses new technology for disease treatment.
The UAE earned the highest regional score on the Middle East Healthcare Access Index compiled by BMI Research, a unit of Fitch group, according to a report released on Friday. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman followed while Iraq trailed the list with the lowest score.
“Advanced healthcare systems and compulsory health insurance in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and the continuous adoption of new technologies in the healthcare system will support the UAE’s position,” the report said.
“Innovation in clinical services and the use of new technologies in disease diagnosis and treatment will drive a more patient-centric healthcare system.”
Spending on health care in the Arabian Gulf is projected to grow at an average of 6.6 per cent annually to $104.6 billion (Dh384.2bn) in 2022 from an estimated $76.1bn in 2017, according to a March report by Alpen Capital.
An expanding population, high prevalence of non-communicable disease, rising cost of treatment and increasing availability of health insurance are the main factors driving growth.
The BMI report found that new technologies including 3D printing, artificial intelligence, advanced robotic surgeries and virtual reality will support disease management and treatment in the UAE.
The UAE and Oman are expected to record the highest growth rates in healthcare spending between 2017 and 2022 at 9.6 per cent and 9.1 per cent respectively, according to Alpen Capital.
A fast-growing population, mandatory health insurance and above-average medical inflation rates will contribute to their higher levels of spending compared to Gulf peers.