The UAE will require approximately 13,000 doctors over the next two years due to growing population and rise in lifestyle-induced diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular illness.
“In terms of number of doctors per thousand people, UAE has low ratio compared to the developed countries like, USA and the other European countries. Therefore, the country will be requiring around an additional of 12,920 doctors by 2014,” said the new research report “UAE Healthcare Sector Forecast to 2014” by RNCOS.
The UAE had 7.2 million people at the end of 2011 and the figure is expected to grow by around 5.6 per cent to 7.6 million at the end of 2012, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry said last week.
Similarly, per capita spending on healthcare by the UAE residents will also surge incessantly over the coming years due to these lifestyle diseases.
“The UAE is also one of the (world’s) leading countries for lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, overweight and obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. In the past few years, the UAE healthcare industry has shown an unprecedented growth which is expected to continue in the future due to increasing population, rising prevalence of lifestyle diseases and epidemic outbreaks like H1N1.
“The country has been witnessing a tremendous increase in the demand for healthcare services and professionals, which indicates high healthcare spending. As per our latest estimates, the healthcaremarket of the UAE is expected to expand at a CAGR of over 16 per cent during 2011-2014 on back of these factors and developments,” RNCOS said.
It said the UAE’s healthcare market is projected to reach $14.6 billion (Dh53.6 billion) by the end of 2014, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 16 per cent since 2011.
The report said that the UAE is an attractive destination for medical devices imports as it has the lowest import duties in the region.
Therefore, the country’s medical device market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of around 11 per cent during 2011-2014. The domestic manufacturing of these devices remains low in the country. The study of the pharmaceuticals industry revealed that there will be a strong demand for OTC drugs in the UAE in near future due to the opening of standard retail pharmacy chains and rising trend of self-medication.
UAE pharmaceutical market is regarded as the most lucrative market due to the swiftly liberal trade policies and many other factors which facilitate the growth at a CAGR of 15.1 per cent during 2011-2014.
It said the UAE government is pouring the required investments and incentives to develop the country as the medical tourism destination for plastic surgery treatments, which are gaining popularity in the Middle East.
“Over the next few years, the demand for hospitals and hospital beds is likely to increase in the country as the existing infrastructure is inadequate to deal with the rising number of health complications,” RNCOS said.
On studying healthcare markets in various emirates, the report found that Abu Dhabi, which has the largest health infrastructure, is actively working on expanding its medical facilities to entice increased numbers of affluent foreigners to the city. Similarly, Dubai, with myriad of first-class medical treatments and English speaking medical staff, is becoming a popular destination among travellers.