HEALTH HIGH ON THE AGENDA
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