x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Lagging behind in ratio of doctors to people

Among its GCC neighbours, the UAE has some of the least impressive figures when it comes to health workforce indicators.

Among its GCC neighbours, the UAE has some of the least impressive figures when it comes to health workforce indicators. With 17 doctors for every 10,000 people, it lags behind all but one of its GCC partners, Saudi Arabia. Bahrain, with 27 the best in the Gulf, is more or less comparable to the US (26), though less well off than Europe (32). Likewise, the UAE has a lower ratio of nurses and midwives - 35 per 10,000 people - than all but Saudi Arabia (30). Bahrain and Kuwait have more than 60, compared with 79 in Europe and 94 in the US.

Along with Kuwait, the UAE is at the bottom of the table in the number of hospital beds per 10,000 population; just 19, compared with Bahrain (27), Qatar (25), Saudi Arabia (22) and Oman (20). The figures for the UK and US respectively are 39 and 31, while in Europe the ratio soars to 63. In all three categories, however, GCC countries outstrip the Eastern Mediterranean Region as a whole - the EMR has 10 doctors, 15 nurses and midwives and just 14 beds for every 10,000 people. Globally, says the WHO, there are 13 doctors per 10,000 population, ranging from only two in Africa to a high of 79 in Europe.

The UAE has the second highest overall spending on health care in the GCC - more than US$1,000 (Dh3,700) a head, second only to the US$2,759 spent by Qatar. jgornall@thenational.ae