Qatar may attract foreign direct investments (FDIs) through public–private partnership (PPP) initiatives in order to meet the increasing demand of healthcare services and share the financial burden on State finances, Alpen Capital has said in a report.
By 2022, MoPH plans to increase the number of private hospital beds by 25%, Alpen Capital said in its latest report on ‘GCC Healthcare Industry’.
A rise in population to 2.8mn by 2022 will stimulate demand for healthcare services in the country, it noted.
In 2019, as part of the government’s goal to increase hospital beds to 5,700 by 2033, bidders from the private sector were invited to construct and operate three hospitals on state-owned land in Abu Hamour and Al Shamal, adding a capacity of 310 beds, the report said.
According to Alpen Capital, Qatar has already introduced compulsory health insurance for residents, enabling them to access affordable services at private facilities as well.
“The MoPH is also in the midst of drafting a law on its new mandatory health insurance scheme, including those visiting the country. This is likely to attract foreign insurance players to establish their operations in the country, further aiding growth,” Alpen Capital said.
In terms of recent industry developments Alpen Capital said as of October, Qatar’s Public Works Authority (Ashghal) completed work on nine healthcare projects and is working on development of five new healthcare centres and a National Laboratory Building to provide specialised services including infectious disease management.
This forms part of Ashghal’s plan to construct nearly 70 healthcare centres over a 10 year period.
In October, the MoPH in collaboration with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), Sidra Medicine and Naufar, launched a mental health and emotional wellbeing awareness campaign. It aims at reducing stress of people amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
In June this year, Qatar allowed private healthcare facilities in the country to perform Covid-19 tests, becoming the second country in the GCC to allow for private lab testing. The samples will be sent to HMC laboratories for examination.
Qatar imposed partial lockdowns in March and announced plans to lift it in four phases from June until September.
While restrictions could be re-imposed if necessary, the country took a number of measures to ensure economic and health wellbeing.
“From rolling out a QR75bn stimulus package primarily aimed at SMEs and hard hit sectors to assuring free of cost treatment for the Covid-19 infected patients, the government has strongly battled the crisis through strategic initiatives,” Alpen Capital noted.
“By repurposing existing resources and facilities, capacity was swiftly expanded to ensure sufficient healthcare facilities with intensive treatment and advanced respiratory support,” it said.
Qatar also extended help to a number of foreign countries by sending medical equipment and supplies to China, Iran, Italy, Spain, US, Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria, Rwanda and Nepal; providing financial support to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip; and aiding refugee camps in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. “Such measures can be primarily attributed to the government acting decisively in terms of leveraging its national wealth, abundant supply reserves, and a well-equipped healthcare system,” the report noted.