Healthcare industry thrives through downturn - GCC spending US$14billion on new hospitals and healthcare facilities

Published May 31st, 2009 - 04:57 GMT

As construction prices in the Middle East fall, the region’s healthcare sector is not only surviving the global economic crisis, but is thriving, according to the organisers of Hospital Build.

There are currently more than 100 hospitals in the planning stage across the Middle East and Africa, and while so many industries are feeling the bite of the credit crunch, healthcare projects remain relatively unaffected because of government support and a long term commitment to healthcare infrastructure growth.

“Approximately US$14 billion is being spent in the Arabian Gulf countries alone on new hospitals and healthcare facilities,” said Simon Page, Group Director for Life Sciences at IIR Middle East, the organisers of Hospital Build, taking place from 14-16 June 2009 at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre.

“Towards the end of 2008, it was reported that some medical projects were postponed as a result of an increase in the cost of building materials.  Now, however, the cost of steel and cement have tumbled – approximately 70 per cent and 22 per cent respectively – and many projects, such as the $1.9billion first phase of the Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi and the $572million Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum Academic Medical Centre in Dubai Healthcare City are progressing well,” added Page.

Burt Hill, one of the world’s largest architecture, engineering, interior design and landscape architecture companies, will be taking part in Hospital Build to showcase their work on Al Mafraq Hospital, one of Abu Dhabi’s oldest hospitals, which is being replaced with state of the art facilities using environmentally friendly and energy-efficient design elements.
Hospital Build 2

Burt Hill has been appointed to help deliver a 70 per cent increase in hospital rooms and triple the number of treatment rooms at the Al Mafraq hospital, part of the Abu Dhabi 2030 plan.  The new hospital, with 690 beds, will recycle waste water, reduce electrical use with fibre optic interior sunlighting, and incorporate extensive use of solar panels.

“Burt Hill’s position in markets such as healthcare, education and infrastructure has offered us a degree of stability during these economically challenging times,” said Mr Norman Soto, Director of Healthcare for the UAE, Burt Hill.

“Hospital Build offers us a unique opportunity to engage directly with hospital developers and operators, healthcare providers, hospital management and facilities management personnel. The exhibition is an excellent platform to gauge the state of the healthcare market in this region and provide us with valuable knowledge regarding the needs of healthcare providers,” added Soto.

Organised by the team behind Arab Health, the region’s largest annual gathering for healthcare professionals, the inaugural Hospital Build exhibition and conference ( will bring investors, commissioners, backers and managers of major healthcare building projects together with planning, design, building, operations, management and refurbishment suppliers.

Seven comprehensive conferences will run alongside the exhibition, including the well established Hospital Design and Upgrade (HDU) event.

The HDU conference, which has until now taken place during Arab Health, will address sustainable healthcare solutions through better design.  Twenty five powerful sessions, over three days, will highlight the latest thinking in clinical design.

Internationally recognised industry speakers, such as Dr Moham Chellappa, President of Global Ventures at Johns Hopkins Medicine-International in the USA and Dr Philipp Vetter, Head of Strategy at the Health Authority Abu Dhabi, will address delegates during the conferences.
Hospital Build 3

Furthermore, the exhibition will host the first Hospital Build Awards which will recognise and celebrate excellence in the design, operation and management of healthcare facilities in the Middle East.

Hospital Build Conference Programme
 Healthcare Management and Maintenance
 Hospital Design and Upgrade
 Imaging and Diagnostic Management
 Investment and Finance
 IT in Healthcare Forum
 Quality Standard and Hospital Accreditation
 Surgery Management

Hospital Build Speakers include:
 Mr A.R. Mohan, Managing Director, Saudi German Hospitals Group
 Dr Wael Kaawach, CEO, Healthcare Development Holding Company
 Dr Hazem Zagzoug, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Andalusia Holding Group
 Dr Moham Chellappa, President, Global Ventures, Johns Hopkins Medicine-International
 Dr Philipp Vetter, Head of Strategy, Health Authority Abu Dhabi
 Dr Ashraf Ismail, Managing Director, Middle East, Joint Commission International



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