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Tue 12 Jan 2010 07:25 AM

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High growth predicted for GCC healthcare sector

Proleads research reveals $5bn public spending in facilities in Saudi Arabia alone.

The healthcare sector in the Gulf will continue to enjoy high growth in 2010, despite the global slowdown, led by government investment in infrastructure improvement, according to leading industry observers.

“In spite of significant project delays in other non-infrastructure sectors, the pipeline of healthcare projects in the region remains remarkably robust, particularly for Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” said Simon Page, director of the Life Science Division of IIR Middle East, organisers of this month’s Arab Health Exhibition and Congress.

Arab Health takes place at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre from January 25-28 and will be 20 percent bigger than previous shows, Page added.

Page was speaking as Dubai-based research firm Proleads released the latest figures on current investment in both the public and private healthcare sectors in Saudi Arabia, which is leading regional demand growth.

The Proleads figures show government investment in healthcare-related projects in Saudi Arabia is currently running at more than $5 billion, compared with around $1 billion of private sector investment.

In addition, per capita health care spending in GCC countries is expected to continue growing faster than the global average, according to a recent report from Alpen Capital.

“Growth in income levels as well as an increase in health insurance coverage will boost demand for health care services," the report said. "Moreover, per capita health care requirements and spending will also increase as the GCC population ages and the disease mix changes."

The Alpen Capital report also forecast the GCC may need in excess of 25,000 additional beds by 2020 to address growing demand for in-patient treatments.

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