The Sultanate of Oman has announced its plans to spend an estimated USD 1.5 billion on the construction of a medical complex.
According to Ahmed Al Qasmi, director general for planning at the health ministry, the government would be inviting bids for the construction this year in northern Batnah. Batnah is a major city in the northern coastal region and boasts the second highest population in Oman after Muscat. The International Medical City project will be led by Saudi-based Apex Medical Group and some other Gulf investors. After completion of its three phases, the project is expected to generate about 3000 jobs.
The project will be based on 5 million square meters and will also include residential space, shopping malls and hospitals. The development will be key for the Gulf state’s health care system, which had built its last major hospital 20 years ago. With population growing at an annual rate of around 4 percent, healthcare system of the Sultanate is coming under increasing pressure.
The project is expected to be completed by 2016 and will feature world-class healthcare infrastructure and medical tourism venture. The medical complex will include the region’s first purpose-built transplantation and rehabilitation centre, and Oman’s first advanced tertiary care hospital and diagnostics centre.
This medical complex would radically change the regional healthcare landscape. Dr Naeema Aziz, Project Director, believes that, “the International Medical City will open a new chapter in Oman’s healthcare development. It will establish the Sultanate as a regional hub for transplant based medical tourism, encompassing kidney, liver and pancreas transplantation and rehabilitation services”.
Like other Arab states, Oman is heavily reliant on income earned through oil exports. The economy has enjoyed a boom in recent years due to high international oil prices. The government intends to spend heavily on its infrastructure, with the total state spending expected to near 12.9 billion rials in 2013. This is a jump of about 30 percent from the year 2012.