Healthcare in Saudi Arabia



Expatriates who look to health care as a primary concern will not be disappointed when they choose to live in Saudi Arabia. Here, foreign-trained doctors and unceasing government support for health services collaborate to give every individual in the land, Arabian or expat, the best of health care they deserve.

The supervision of healthcare and hospitals in both public and private sectors is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health which operates 62% of the hospitals and 53% of the clinics and centres. As of the moment, the numbers are continuously rising as the population in the kingdom continues to grow rapidly. As a commitment to its people, the government continues to provide massive support to existing as well as new projects to ensure that health services are accessible to all people at all levels of care. Every expat knows that healthcare in a developed nation is rarely an issue. Then and now, Saudi Arabia was, is and will most likely never be an exception and it will always be an attractive new home to call one's own.

Healthcare Coverage for Expats

First and foremost, Saudi nationals and expats that are working for the public sector are entitled to use the country’s state-funded medical services. Health insurance is mandatory for all foreign nationals who wish to enter the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is one of the requirements before an iqama (resident permit) can be issued, as well as any work permits renewals. Most of the time, the sponsor or employer of an expat who will work in the private sector provides his medical coverage. 

State-financed insurance in Saudi Arabia are referred to as Cooperative Health Insurance Policies. These policies are regulated by the local government to secure that all Saudi nationals and qualified expats receive adequate medical/health services at an affordable cost. However, these cooperative health insurance plans are only valid within Saudi Arabia, so expats are still advised to consider taking out a private international health insurance that will cover their medical needs in and out of this country.

Doctors and Medical Research

The majority of the doctors in Saudi Arabia are locals while a great percentage came from Europe, US, Egypt, India and Pakistan. Expats can search doctors in yellow pages or by asking around for referrals. It is easy to make appointments or change doctors, especially if one has private health coverage. A patient can simply walk in to see a doctor. A typical routine first diagnostic visit to a private doctor cost can start from USD$60.00 plus any additional costs for any test rendered.

The government also finances medical training abroad for qualified candidates that actively pursues medical research. So far, researchers have developed an effective drug that stabilizes blood sugar levels in diabetics. At the College of Sciences of King Saud University, scientists have used radioactive isotopes to determine the effect of antibiotics on body functions. The King Khalid Eye Specialist Hospital, staffed by foreign doctors, is a world center for the treatment of eye disorders.

Hospitals in Saudi Arabia

In this developed nation, the system consists of two tiers. One is a chain of clinics and centres providing basic emergency and other basic health services which are offered all the way into the remotest towns and rural areas while the second covers hospitals and specialised treatment facilities located in the urban areas. This design ensures that all parts of the kingdom are afforded the same level of care by the government as needs remain universal whether one is staying in the capital, Riyadh, or the remote town of Tuwal. There are a vast majority of health centres and hospitals in Saudi Arabia. Some of them are:

Makkah Al Mukarramah Branch Rd, As Sulimaniyah, Riyadh 11525

Tel: +966 11 288 9999

Zahrawi Street, Al Maather, Riyadh 12713

Tel: +966 11 464 7272

Eastern Province, Jubail Industrial City 31961

Tel: +966 13 346 4000

Al Urubah Branch Rd, Umm Al Hamam Al Gharbi, Riyadh 12329

Tel: +966 11 482 1234


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