Sun 21 Mar 2010 12:01 PM
Dr Abdullah Al Rabiah

Dr Abdullah Al Rabiah

Industry: Healthcare

Company: Ministry of Health - Saudi Arabia

Designation: Minister of hHealth

Country: Saudi Arabia

Occupation: Minister of hHealth

A former surgeon who first shot to fame after his intricate operations on conjoined twins, Dr Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Rabiah now holds the health of some 27 million people in his hands. Minister of Health to the Gulf’s largest economy, Saudi Arabia, he oversees a $16.3bn budget and a population that boasts one of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the world.

Saudi’s healthcare system has undergone a radical shake-up in recent years. It was one of the first Gulf states to launch compulsory insurance for expats working in the Kingdom; a move that the state hopes will lure in private sector providers, and shave millions of dollars off its healthcare spend. To date, the impact has been muted. The 2010 healthcare budget received a 51 percent boost; a hike aimed at increasing the number of hospitals, clinics and staff in the sector. A reported 92 hospitals are slated to be built in the next ten years, part of the state’s goal to provide primary healthcare to every family in the country.

Still, despite being in its nascent stages, Saudi has the potential to become the largest, most commercially-attractive healthcare market in the Middle East. As the man holding the reins, Al Rabiah is powerful indeed.