HEALTH HIGH ON THE AGENDA

Qatar Today - - ENERGY > VIEWPOINT -

Fac­ing its first fis­cal deficit in 15 years, the Qatari gov­ern­ment moved to cap ex­pen­di­ture at QR202.5 bil­lion ($55.6 bil­lion) in its lat­est budget, which came into force at the begin­ning of the year. How­ever, while to­tal out­lays were re­duced by 7.3%, fund­ing for health rose by more than 33% to QR20.9 bil­lion ($5.7 bil­lion), equiv­a­lent to around 10% of to­tal spend­ing.

While cap­i­tal in­vest­ment in pri­mary health­care ser­vices re­mains high on the agenda, the budget also gave added weight to the train­ing of med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als and re­search and devel­op­ment.

HEALTH WAS ONE OF THE BIG WIN­NERS IN QATAR'S 2016 BUDGET, AT A TIME WHEN MANY OTHER AREAS OF THE ECON­OMY SAW SPEND­ING REINED IN DUE TO LOWER EN­ERGY REV­ENUES.

Ma­jor projects mov­ing ahead

In­fra­struc­ture is a key com­po­nent of pro­jected spend­ing, with more than QR850 mil­lion ($233 mil­lion) ear­marked for the con­struc­tion of five new health centres, namely a can­cer treat­ment hospi­tal, a meta­bolic cen­tre, a neu­ro­sciences fa­cil­ity, a di­ag­nos­tic and treat­ment cen­tre, and a hospi­tal for ter­tiary care. Ex­pan­sions to ex­ist­ing hos­pi­tals are also be­ing funded.

The projects come one year af­ter Ha­mad Med­i­cal Cor­po­ra­tion, Qatar's main health­care provider, un­veiled its mas­ter plan for med­i­cal ser­vices pro­vi­sion. The or­gan­i­sa­tion aims at more than dou­bling the num­ber of specialist clin­ics op­er­at­ing un­der its sys­tem and in­creas­ing op­er­at­ing the­atre ca­pac­ity by 100%.

Mo­men­tum is build­ing with progress ev­i­dent across a raft of ma­jor projects, led

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