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Sun 1 Sep 2013 10:19 AM

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Saudi signs $800m worth of new health projects

Contracts include new hospitals, research facilities

Saudi signs $800m worth of new health projects
Cranes stand beside new high rise buildings under construction in the King Abdullah financial district of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Monday, April 9, 2012. Saudi Arabias gross domestic product expanded 6.64 percent in the fourth quarter from a year ago, the kingdoms statistics agency said. (Bloomberg)

Saudi Arabia is expected to sign SR3bn ($800m) worth of health contracts, including for new hospitals and research facilities, on Sunday.

Ministry of Health senior official Khalid Al-Mirghalani said the contracts would include new hospitals and information technology facilities, as well as services such as maintenance and cleaning, Arab News reported.

Healthcare is a fast growing industry across the Gulf as governments seek to improve what has been a low standard of service, with many nationals travelling overseas to seek medical attention.

Foreign investors also have been keen to take advantage of the rapidly expanding industry.

Investment in the healthcare sector in the UAE has tripled in the past five years and is expected to soar from $3.2bn in 2012 to $11.9bn in 2015, contributing to more than 6 percent of non-oil gross domestic product.

Saudi Arabia has also embarked on a national healthcare programme, aiming to cover the entire kingdom.

In an announcement in October last year, King Abdullah inaugurated 420 health projects and laid foundation stones for 127 health facilities worth SR12bn, Arab News said.

The Ministry of Health is constructing 122 hospitals and medical towers and 305 primary healthcare units.

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