Qatar’s health system has been ranked 5th best in the world and the first in the Middle East, according to Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank.
Qatar is the only country in the region to score in the top five on the annual prosperity index, placed behind Singapore, Luxembourg, Japan and Switzerland.
Improved life expectancy, better health outcomes, and investment in health infrastructure have resulted in Qatar being ranked fifth. In compiling the health ranking in the annual prosperity index, countries’ performance in three areas, including basic health outcomes, health infrastructure and preventative care, and physical and mental health were evaluated.
The rise in the rankings from 13th place last year to 5th, has been driven by the fact that Qatar has the highest life expectancy rate in the Eastern Mediterranean Region and globally ranks in the top 25 percentile for healthcare access and quality. The country’s healthcare spending is among the highest in the Middle East, with QR22.7bn invested in healthcare in 2018, a 4% increase from the previous year.
HE Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari, Minister of Public Health said under the wise leadership of the Amir His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Qatar has invested heavily in the health sector. She said the top placement in the international index is a reflection of the country’s commitment to system-wide priorities to both meet the needs of future generations and improve the health of the current population.
“The 2018 ranking recognises the investment the country has made in health infrastructure. Over the past two years, we have opened six new public sector hospitals and more than 1,100 new hospital beds. We have also opened four new Health and Wellness Centres. The ranking also recognises that our focus on areas such as cancer, diabetes, and smoking cessation is having a positive impact on people’s lives, and ultimately it recognises that life expectancy in Qatar continues to improve,” said Dr al-Kuwari.
Qatar also ranks strongly for a number of health outcomes. The nation has the highest life expectancy rate in the Eastern Mediterranean Region and has seen the crude death rate per 100,000 population decline throughout this decade, from 99.1 in 2014 to 80.2 in 2017. Additionally, infant mortality rates have declined consistently in recent years, from 7.4 per 1,000 live births in 2015 to 5.4 per 1,000 in 2017.
The health ranking in the annual prosperity index uses data from the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Bank Development Indicators, the Gallup World Poll, and a variety of other sources to measure and rank the health of people living in 149 countries.Since 2017 Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has opened four new hospitals – Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital, Women’s Wellness and Research Center, the Qatar Rehabilitation Institute, and the Ambulatory Care Centre – significantly expanding its infrastructure and the range of services offered to patients.
In the past 18 months, Sidra Medicine, Naufar, and four new Primary Health Care Corporation Health and Wellness Centres and one new health centre have been opened. Additionally, a number of new private sector hospitals and diagnostic and treatment centres have begun caring for patients and additional healthcare facilities are set to open this year.Dr al-Kuwari said the opening of the new facilities, along with the expansion of existing services, is part of the long-term plan set out in the National Health Strategy 2018-2022. She said a focus on preventative care and integrated services across the whole health sector is helping ensure that when people need care, they are able to access it in a timely way. Courtesy:GulfTimes