A bright future for healthcare projects in the Middle East

Published June 1st, 2010 - 08:55 GMT

Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group presided over the opening ceremony of the second Hospital Build Middle East Exhibition & Congress today. The three-day conference and exhibition is organised by IIR Middle East Life Sciences Division and supported by UAE Ministry of Health and Health, Dubai Health Authority, and Authority – Abu Dhabi (HAAD). The event continues on 2 and 3 June, 2010.

The Hospital Build Middle East Exhibition has brought investors, commissioners, backers and managers of major healthcare building projects together with planning, design, building, operations, management and refurbishment suppliers. The multinational platform has exhibitors from 16 countries from around the globe including industry leaders such as Karl Storz, Philips, Maquet Middle East, Siemens, Abu Dhabi Health Services Company PJSC (SEHA), GE Healthcare, Al Futtaim Carillion and Al Habtoor.

Running alongside the exhibition is a multi-disciplinary congress consisting of eight leading conferences and is designed as an educational platform for senior managers and decision makers at healthcare facilities. The scope and nature of the conference program will focus on delivering up-to-date information which will address healthcare technology applications, hospital build & design, facilities management, investment & finance, human resources in healthcare, healthcare marketing, workflow management, quality, standards and accreditation, and leaders in healthcare.

ICME Healthcare, a knowledge partner and exhibitor at Hospital Build Middle East, is a specialised management consultancy firm acting as a lead consultant for the Abu Dhabi Government Health Services supporting the authorities with strategic initiatives and the design management of healthcare facilities. They see a bright future for healthcare projects in the Middle East.

"Despite suffering at the hands of the recent global financial crisis the healthcare industry seems to fare better than other industries," says Holger M. Sprenger, Partner and Managing Director, ICME Healthcare, and speaker at the Investment & Finance conference at Hospital Build Middle East.

"The Middle East region in particular is characterised by a high prevalence of diabetes, obesity cardio-vascular diseases, and increasing cancer diseases. These factors, along with a high prevalence of smoking coupled with changes in health insurance regulations have lead to an increase in the demand for health services in the region," he explains.

"Both healthcare demand and spending are on the rise in the GCC Countries. The current healthcare spend stands at around US$ 16-18 billion and is expected to increase to around US$ 22- 24 billion by the year 2018. No other region in the world faces such rapid growth in demand with the simultaneous need to realign its health-care systems to be able to treat the disorders of affluence.

"In the GCC, estimates from various sources indicate around 75 to 132 hospitals are planned for construction with a total bed capacity of around 20,000 to 25,000 beds. As per a high-level analysis done by us, we anticipate a bed requirement of around 400,000 to 450,000 beds in the MENA Region by the year 2018."

In order to enhance the healthcare system in the GCC, Mr Sprenger sees opportunities of work in the areas of primary healthcare, preventive medicine, healthcare education, specialised hospitals, diagnostic services and financial strategy.

Mr Sprenger continues: "Though infrastructure requirements persist, upcoming projects need to be decided based on the regional demographic requirements inbuilt with capacity planning and operational requirements of the medical facility while pursing the feasibility studies. A similar approach is practiced within ICME Healthcare."

The Hospital Build Middle East Exhibition & Congress will run from 1 to 3 June, 2010, from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Center. Trade visitors have unlimited access to the exhibition, and may register their participation any time during the event. 

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