Index / Health
Saudi Arabia /
Saudi Arabia is ranked 6 among 22 MENA countries. Life expectancy is among the highest in the region, but spending on health is low, and there are many insufficiencies in the system, well exemplified with a rather high child mortality rate at almost 22 per 1000.
A 2007 World Health Organization report estimates that 61% of the health force are expatriates, and there are problems with a rapid turn over.
Medical care is free for all citizens, but health facilities in rural areas are limited. Administration is divided between several agencies. The main functions are operated by the Ministry of Health, Saudi military operates many institutions, while other agencies provide services, like the Ministry of Education which provides health care for students. In addition, there are many private institutions.
In 2006, there were ca. 220 hospitals, both general and specialist, around the country, cooperating with 1,925 health centres. The private sectors provides about 15% of the total number of hospital beds, but has a higher turnaround of patients than private hospitals.
Programs have been launched to provide family practitioner services at the primary health care level.
Health conditions and diseases
Over recent decades health conditions have improved significantly, and many diseases are heavily reduced. Rather there has been an increase in noncommunicable diseases, in particular cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Figures of 2006 from WHO show that 97% have good access to clean water in towns, 100% access to good sanitation. There are no data for access in rural areas.