OVERVIEW OF THE MEDICAL MARKET IN UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
As a percentage of GDP, healthcare expenditure is low, but in per capita terms, spending is among the top 30 in the world. Overall health expenditure is estimated to stand at US$16.3bn in 2013, equal to 4.1% of GDP. Per capita spending is US$1,984.
A wide range of public health facilities are run by the Ministry of Health, including hospitals, primary healthcare centres, school health and maternity & child health units. In addition, there are facilities run by other public sector bodies, including the Police and the Armed Forces. The private sector is far more active in the provision of primary care than hospital services.
The UAE is committed to improving its health sector and as such, is investing a significant amount in the construction and renovation of health facilities. Private sector investment is also playing a key role in the development of the UAE's healthcare provision. New facilities include DM Healthcare's plans to open two specialist hospitals by 2014; Dubai's specialist paediatric hospital, which is on target to open in late 2013; a new hospital and teaching facility in Dubai Healthcare City; and plans to open a second branch of Abu Dhabi's largest private hospital in Mohammed Bin Zayed City.
The UAE is a regional hub for medical tourism, a fact that boosts demand for state-of-the-art facilities and modern medical devices. In order to maintain its reputation as a leading medical tourism destination, the government and private sector have to maintain high levels of investment in the healthcare sector. In February 2013, Dubai Health Authority signed an agreement with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs to facilitate and support medical tourism in the country, illustrating its importance and potential for growth.
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