The health sector in Saudi Arabia is the largest among all Middle Eastern countries with an expenditure exceeding SR150 billion ($40 billion), Minister of Health Tawfiq Al-Rabiah has said.
He said the challenges in the sector are somewhat similar to those in other countries, including financial sustainability because of the rapid increase in the cost of health services, the scarcity of staff, the demographic change of the population, the aging population, the increase in the incidence of chronic diseases and the accessibility of health services.
Al-Rabiah added, during the inauguration of the World Health Forum in Riyadh on Monday, that ambitious health plans have emerged from these challenges to restructure and reform the health system in the Kingdom.
The minister stressed that the promotion of the concept of public health, preventive health and the adoption of healthy food patterns are important for the reform of the Kingdom’s health system, in addition to working to raise the level of health services and adopting a culture of competition, transparency and performance indicators.
Al-Rabiah noted that the Ministry of Health has succeeded in improving many of these indicators through more than 1,000 projects annually led by 300 leaders of change, including reducing the waiting time to see the doctor in emergency by 13 percent, reducing the waiting period in emergency by 47 percent, reducing the abolition of operations by more than 50 percent, and raising the rate of exit from the hospital by the end of the week by 42 percent.
The minister had opened the exhibition accompanying the forum at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center, which lasts for three days.
The forum is attended by 25 countries as well as local and international decision-makers in the development of the health care sector and investors, distributors, medical equipment manufacturers, doctors, hospital managers and health care providers.
The event hosts more than 135 exhibitions from Saudi, regional and international companies to showcase the latest developments in health services and medical technologies.
It aims to review global developments and best practices in the field of health care to identify opportunities for developments in the Kingdom.
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