Qatar provides a conducive business environment for healthcare businesses to service the rapidly growing GCC market, which had 160 ongoing healthcare projects with a total value of $53.2 billion in 2020.
The country’s healthcare sector offers state-of-the-art medical facilities, an extensive R&D ecosystem, a highly skilled talent pool, support for private-public partnerships (PPPs), strong digital adoption and world-class tech infrastructure, says an article by the Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (IPA Qatar).
Meanwhile, the medical tourism revenue in the GCC is estimated to grow to $2.1 billion this year, recording a CAGR of 8.9% since 2017 and Qatar aims to grab a chunk of that.
One area in which Qatar is particularly thriving is its Medical Technology (MedTech) sector, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6% between 2021-2026. One factor helping drive this growth is the country’s vibrant start-up ecosystem.
Qatar offers the perfect example of how a collaborative approach brings together innovative ideas, sound investment and essential support to enable a promising project to flourish. Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) offers a dedicated free zone for technology and innovation, where entrepreneurs and start-ups are empowered to realise their full potential and achieve sustainable growth.
QSTP’s services - such as office space, mentorship and funding opportunities - coupled with Qatar’s favourable policies for entrepreneurship, including simplified business registration processes and funding - have created a conducive environment for start-ups to succeed.
Thanks to investment and support from QSTP, one start-up that has seen significant success is Meddy which has grown to become the largest doctor booking platform in Qatar, boasting over 200,000 monthly users. Working with major healthcare providers in the country, Meddy helps patients find the doctors best suited to their needs, based on a wide array of filters and reviews, and can book appointments with them. In 2021, the start-up was acquired by Helium Health, a leading healthcare technology provider in Africa.
Droobi is another QSTP success story, providing the world’s first suite of bilingual (Arabic and English) digital therapeutic programmes using a host of best-in-class technologies. It integrates technology, healthcare professionals, data analytics and the science of behaviour change to help people manage their chronic diseases more effectively and reduce the risk of developing other diseases.
Integrated care models
Qatar’s emphasis on integrated care models, health promotion and disease prevention underpin its commitment to ensuring the well-being of existing and future generations. The nation is taking big strides in fostering innovation and research, which is evident in initiatives like the Qatar Genome Programme and Qatar Biobank, as well as collaborations with renowned institutions such as Weill Cornell Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Imperial College London, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins Medicine and University College London.
Sustained high levels of investment for the expansion of healthcare infrastructure and services ensure a positive market outlook across primary, secondary and tertiary care. The country already boasts several state-of-the-art healthcare facilities. Aspetar, was the first specialised orthopaedic and sports medicine hospital in the GCC; Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), was the first hospital in the Middle East to be accredited by US-based non-governmental organisation ACGME International, and Sidra Medicine launched the first paediatric robotic surgery programme in the Middle East.
Qatar’s pharmaceutical market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 6.1% between 2021-2026, with strong efforts in place to attract foreign investment to expand local production, including a recent agreement between Hamad Medical Corporation and Qatar Pharma that sets out a three-year roadmap to reach self-sufficiency in pharmaceutical production.
Foreign investors will find a valuable and competitive business climate in Qatar, backed by a stable and resilient economy, pro-business regulations and a vibrant knowledge ecosystem. The country's strategic investments in healthcare institutions, skilled talent and world-class tech infrastructure pave the way for remarkable growth and innovation in the healthcare sector.
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