The Arabian Gulf’s growing healthcare sector and Arab Health 2019 in Dubai is a testimony demonstrating the importance to the UAE and the GCC economies.
Recent reports suggest that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) health sector will grow by 60% between 2016 and 2021, which will increase and be worth over AED 103 billion by 2021. For instance, The UAE is the world’s fastest growing medical tourism hub. The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) in 2017 reported medical tourism in Dubai generated more than AED 1.4 billion in 2016, as well as receiving 326,649 medical tourists.
The UAE Cabinet approved the largest federal budget in the country’s history, where the healthcare system will receive AED 4.4 billion. HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Fund also looks to fund innovation in the healthcare sector.
Across the GCC within the healthcare sector this is also evident. As the region undergoes massive economic development transformations, health care is an important sector and also one in the future that looks to attract and foster innovation and technology to help improve the lives of its citizens.
According to reports, government spending on healthcare across the MENA region is expected to reach US$ 144 billion by 2020. Looking at the largest market, Saudi Arabia, this is evident. Saudi Vision 2030 aims to optimize and better utilize the capacity of hospitals and health care centres, while also enhancing the quality of preventive and therapeutic healthcare services, also encouraging more participation of the private sector in health care.
The GCC is poised to be a global leader in this sector, as it not only is generally undergoing economic transformations as a whole but, with the changes in global technology in general, is looking to lead the world with tech and utilizing that in health care. For instance, Dubai is becoming a global leader in blockchain technology and this is evident within various sectors such as healthcare.
For example, last year, Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Regulatory signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during Gitex Technology Week 2018 to link the licensing data of health professionals using blockchain. As a whole, the UAE last April launched the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021. The strategy aims to capitalize on the blockchain technology, transforming 50 per cent of government transactions into the blockchain platform by 2021.
A major buzz within tech and in the healthcare space is artificial intelligence (AI). The UAE has made huge strides in accumulating the knowledge, finances, and tools required to incorporate AI into daily healthcare practices, such as with the Dubai Future Foundation investing millions into AI development initiatives like the UAE AI and Robotics Award for Good.
Also, end of January for those in the healthcare trade know exactly what is happening – the major trade show not just for the GCC but for the world – Arab Health.
According to Arab Health’s press release, Arab Health is the largest healthcare event in the Middle East, which is organised by Informa Exhibitions-Healthcare. Established 44 years ago, Arab Health provides a platform for the world’s leading manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors to meet the medical and scientific community in the Middle East and subcontinent.
The Arab Health Congress is reputed for delivering the highest quality programme of Continuing Medical Education (CME) to medical professionals in the region. Attended by more than 4,500 delegates from around the globe, 11 conferences will bring a global appeal with international speakers covering a broad spectrum of medical specialities and disciplines.
Following the success of the 2018 edition, where over $778 million worth of business was generated by exhibitors, it is expected that more than 84,500 healthcare and trade professionals and 4,150 exhibiting companies from 66 countries will convene at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 28 – 31 January 2019.
According to Ross Williams, Exhibition Director, Arab Health, “For 44 years, Arab Health has brought the latest innovations in healthcare. From state-of-the-art imaging equipment to the most cost-effective disposables, and to developments in surgery and advances in prosthetics, Arab Health is an essential part of the yearly healthcare trade show calendar.”
With over 39 confirmed country pavilions, Arab Health provides an important platform for the Middle East’s healthcare industry to build relationships with international stakeholders and facilitates the exploration of new business opportunities in the global healthcare field.
Arab Health and the wider healthcare growth in the UAE and across the GCC shows the importance healthcare has in the economy at present and in the future.