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Health cover pilot project in 2011

The pilot project of ’s National Health Insurance Scheme is ready for launch by next year. The law is ready and the government is working on the implementation aspect of the Scheme, said Minister of Public Health H E Abdullah bin Khalid Al Qahtani. He also revealed that the country’s first military hospital is under study.

The Minister was talking to a section of media on the sidelines of the 5th Finance & Investment in Qatar Forum here yesterday.

“Health insurance is a risky sector. The launch of the project needs a huge back-up system and a massive network with various stake holders including hospitals, employers and various other agencies. The government is working on that and I hope we could possibly launch the pilot project by next year. It is yet to be decided whether private sector would be a player in the proposed health insurance scheme,” he said.

The Minister said the country’s system is on a major revitalisation process. Currently the country’s public health sector has only 1.7 beds for 1000 people. This ratio would go up to 4.4/1000 people in 2013.

With the launch of the Hamad Medical City, the country would have four new hospitals and nursing home for the elderly. The commissioning of Sidra and the launch of the 280-bed military hospital would double the bed capacity of the country’s health sector by the first quarter of 2013.

“Over the last two decades the country’s health care system had witnessed great developments. The health sector has expanded significantly since the country’s first hospital opened is doors more than 50 years ago. The HMC will add two more hospitals in the near future, The Cardiology Centre of Excellence is set to open this summer and Al Wakra general hospital next year,” minister said.

As of now, the minister said, the primary are being discharged through 21 health centres. Within the coming five years, at least 8 primary health centres would be launched bringing the primary health care services to the door steps of the people. Tenders would be soon floated for Qatar’s first private-public partnership in the health sector to provide management and medical services for three hospitals, and five primary health centres dedicated to caring for the country’s large labour force.

The Minister said that the fund allocations for the health sector has been recording an exponential growth over the years. The annual budget has gone up from $1bn in 2007 to $2bn in 2010; and the per capita expenditure rose from $851 to $1379 during the same period.

The country’s private medical sector has recently witnessed a remarkable development. More than 300 private clinics and health complexes have come up during the last few years. Four modern private hospitals are now providing high quality health services in the country. “Our laws encourage such investments, be it local or international ones. The government allows 100 per cent foreign ownership in health ventures and income tax exemption for private health care facilities. The government also grant tax exemption for import of medical equipment and for other infrastructure to run health care facilities,” Al Qahtani said.

Qatar has set aside 2.8 per cent of its GDP to medical research. The country is targeting a high quality research aimed at enhancing its quality of health care system.

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