Across the health care sector, infrastructure projects worth more than KD1.5bn ($5bn) are under way in Kuwait. The government is the largest service provider, currently representing around 90% of the market in terms of hospital bed numbers and facilities, and the state is working in accordance with the national plan to adopt the World Health Organisation’s proposal of allocating at least 22 hospital beds for every 10,000 people by 2030, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH). This particular approach to health care improvement, which is focused on adding more beds, has resulted in a large-scale construction boom.
As part of Kuwait’s overhaul of its national health care system, and in line with the Kuwait Development Plan 2015-20 framework, the MoH is planning to construct eight new hospitals and hospital extensions at a cost of $1bn. The Ministry of Public Works has also allocated $4.2bn to build nine additional hospitals, which will boost the number of beds available in public facilities by 3334, while creating an estimated 15,000 new jobs. Ultimately, these government projects are intended to add between 5000 and 6000 beds in government hospitals.
Major projects scheduled to open from 2017 to 2019 include: the $1bn Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah Hospital, projected to be the sixth-largest hospital in the world with over 1100 beds and wholly managed by the MoH; the $928m SHBC Al Farwaniya Hospital Expansion project, a 955-bed hospital, an MoH initiative that will increase the total number of hospital beds in all of Kuwait by 17% when it comes on-line; and the $1.28bn New Jahra Hospital project, expanding the existing Jahra Hospital into a 1171-bed facility that will also function as a trauma centre for the Jahra district. Work on the New Jahra Hospital project began in March 2015 and is due for completion in March 2018.
Other health care infrastructure initiatives include three new hospitals under the Health Assurance Hospitals Company’s expatriate insurance programme, with a total of 750 beds and scheduled to come on-line in 2019; the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Hospital in Al Andalus; the Al Razi Orthopaedic Hospital expansion; paediatric and maternity hospitals; multiple facility expansions at Al Adan Hospital and Sabah Al Salem Kuwait University City Hospital; and a new wing in Kuwait Cancer Control Centre, the third-biggest oncology centre in the world. A construction tender for the 792-bed Al Shuwaikh Children’s Hospital in the Al Sabah Speciality Medical Area was expected to be awarded to contractors in 2017 and was ongoing as of mid-May. The facility will include diagnostic and treatment centres to complement all tertiary care services.
Along with the need to provide basic care for all citizens and residents, concentrated efforts by the government to provide quality treatment are also expected to stimulate market demand for speciality hospitals and lifestyle medical clinics catering to health consumers seeking high-quality inpatient and outpatient services.
Lifestyle medical clinics are particularly well suited to the market given the prevalence of obesity and diabetes, and the corresponding demand for personalised health care programmes that follow a proactive approach to health and wellness. “Obesity is not a Kuwaiti issue, it is a regional issue,” Siddig Abdelmageed Salih, principal research specialist at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, told OBG. “If we perfect treatment strategies here, we can expand to neighbouring countries. It is not always easy to compete with Dubai or Qatar because they move at a faster pace; however, this is a niche in which we can do better than others.”
In the luxury market segment, hospitals like the Royale Hayat are regional leaders, blending quality multi-speciality medical care with luxury services. Since 2006, the hospital has expanded from a preliminary focus on women and children’s health to include an obesity surgery centre, laparoscopic programmes, reproductive medicine and pain management.
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