Saudi king earmarks $4bn for healthcare projects

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Saudi Arabia has earmarked SR15bn ($4bn) to spend on a series of new healthcare projects across the Gulf country.

King Abdullah directly approved the allocation of the cash which will be used to fund 22 new medical projects throughout various parts of the GCC’s most populous country.

Projects will include 19 medical complexes and hospitals with a capacity of 7,400 beds in addition to three centres specifically for treating children.

Among the new facilities are two 200-bed and one 500-bed hospital in Makkah region, 100-bed medical complexes in Riyadh and Jeddah, and 500-bed treatment centres in Qatif, al-Hassa, Khamees Mushayt and West Dammam.

Most of the centres will also include accommodation for staff.

The directive from King Abdullah also included the expropriation of a number of plots of land to build the new facilities.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Health Dr Abullah Al-Rabeeah said the new health centres would come online in phases alongside co-ordination from the Ministry of Finance.

Spending on health care across the Gulf countries is forecast to reach about $79bn by 2015, as populations increase and governments invest oil revenue to boost their health care, Arab News reported earlier this month, citing a survey by Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz).

Public health expenditure per capita has grown at an average of 7.9 percent across GCC states from 2000-2009, according to the survey by Markaz. Public health expenditure in GCC countries is between 63 percent and 80 percent of total health expenditure.

GDP per capita in the GCC has grown at an average of 6 percent between 2000 and 2009, according to the survey.

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