Summit Points Towards Looming Shortage Of Medical Professionals
BMI View: The governments of the Gulf Cooperation Council have responded to the region's growing demand for healthcare services by embarking on a large number of healthcare infrastructure projects. However, a crucial element to meeting demand, which has been overlooked, is the necessity for an adequate supply of human resources to deliver services, thereby meeting the rising demand. Two factors working to create a potential shortage in the region is the weak medical education, training and development of aspiring healthcare professionals and widespread nationalisation labour policies by various Gulf governments to reduce reliance on qualified expatriates.
At a conference in Dubai on December 10 2013, a number of representatives from 15 countries (the UAE, Jordan, Yemen, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iraq, Egypt, Kuwait, Palestine, Libya, Oman and Somalia) discussed the advances and challenges in training and developing human resources in Arab countries' health sectors, according to Trade Arabia. Dr Ahmed bin Kalban, CEO of Primary Healthcare Sector at the Dubai Healthcare Authority, stressed the need to provide continuous medical education and promote an environment of training and education in the medical field.
Within the Middle East and North Africa region, we view the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as the sub-region expected to experience the greatest increase in demand for medicines and healthcare services over the coming years. This demand is being driven by a number of factors, including increasing personal wealth, ageing populations and the adoption of more sedentary lifestyles. The result will be a heavier burden of non-communicable diseases and rising demand for chronic medicines and complex medical procedures. To meet this demand, the GCC is undergoing a healthcare infrastructure boom with the construction of large medical cities, hospitals and clinics, funded by both government and private investment. 
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