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by Arazy Group | Dec 14, 2016

Introduction to Bahrain

Bahrain, meaning “two seas”, comprises 33 islands in the Persian Gulf (Arabian Gulf) and is home to a population of 1,415,401. The islands are mostly desert, and much of the population lives in or near Manama, the capital and largest city of the state and emirate of Bahrain.

The Khalifa family has ruled Bahrain since 1783. The country’s current leader, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, assumed his position in 1999 and transitioned from emir to king when Bahrain became a kingdom in February 2002. Today, Bahrain is a constitutional monarchy with an elected legislative assembly.

Bahrain's Economy at a Glance

Oil was discovered in Bahrain during the 1930s, but the amount was relatively low compared to that in other Gulf states, and it is predicted that the wells there will be the first in the region to dry up. Determined to diversify his country's economy, Sheik Isa bin Sulman Al Khalifa, who became emir in 1961, set about establishing Bahrain as a major financial center.

According to FocusEconomics, a provider of economic analysis and forecasts, Bahrain’s economy slowed down considerably during the second quarter of 2016, expanding 2.5% annually and nearly halving the result of the previous quarter. The company said the deceleration mainly reflected a significant contraction in the oil sector, which more than offset healthy growth in the financial, manufacturing and construction industries.

Bahrain's Healthcare Sector Statistics

According to The Report: Bahrain 2016 by the Oxford Business Group, sustained investment in the healthcare sector has led to considerably improved outcomes for most of the country’s population, with life expectancy rising from 71 in 1983 to 77 in 2013 and infant mortality falling from 21 per 1000 births in 1985 to five in 2013. Public bodies and private investors are continuing to invest in the sector, and in order to better balance rising costs in line with deficit reduction goals, the government is considering shifting to an insurance-based model from a state-sponsored health system.

In 2013 healthcare costs accounted for 4.9% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), of which public expenditure comprised 70%. The Central Informatics Organization’s (CIO) latest financial accounts reveal that total spending by the Ministry of Health (MoH) was BD263m ($692.9m) in 2014, compared to BD250m ($658.6m) during the previous year. In a 2014 report by regional investment company Alpen Capital, the value of the healthcare market is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 5.6% between 2013 and 2018.

Structure of the Healthcare System

The MoH operates a system of hospitals, clinics and specialized centers that provides free healthcare for nationals and services to expatriates for a nominal charge. Formed in 2009, the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) is responsible for regulating and inspecting public and private facilities, licensing medication, conducting examinations for and licensing medical personnel, and handling complaints. Strategic planning is undertaken by the Supreme Council for Health, which was established in 2012. Its long-term objective is to restructure hospital administration in order to make each public hospital in Bahrain autonomous and give patients more choice.

Public Sector Healthcare

The country’s public healthcare service is based around a system of health centres, hospitals and specialised tertiary care centres. According to figures collected by the CIO, as of 2013, Bahrain had five government hospitals, one maternity hospital, 27 health centres, and 16 private hospitals and health units, while the country employed 2704 physicians in the government sector and 1385 in the private sector.

Formed in the 1950s, the Salmaniya Medical Complex is the biggest healthcare facility in Bahrain. This public sector, multi-specialty secondary and tertiary care facility is the main centre for acute care and hosts a number of specialized outpatient clinics.  Other main public hospitals include the Bahrain Defence Forces Hospital (BDFH), which is open to all and is the second largest hospital in the country, and the King Hamad Teaching Hospital, which is affiliated with the military medical system but is open to all Bahrain residents.

Private Sector Healthcare

According to the CIO, Bahrain had 16 private hospitals in 2013, the oldest of which was the American Mission Hospital (AMH), the only non-profit hospital in the country. Treating around 22,000 patients a month, AMH offers a range of services including orthodontics, obstetrics and gynecology. The Royal Bahrain Hospital, Ibn Al-Nafees Hospital and the Bahrain Specialist Hospital in Juffair are other private hospitals in the country.

Bahrain's Medical Device Market

The NHRA supervises medical device control and regulation in the country.  The organization grants all imported medical devices a certificate of importing based on international standards, preventing the entrance of ineffective or unsafe devices to the Bahrain market.

The NHRA's Medical Devices Registration/Importation Guideline was created to provide safeguard measures for patients, appliers, users and third parties against possible hazards they may be exposed to while operating devices. Every medical device intended to be introduced to the market is governed by this guideline. Accessories or spare parts associated with a medical device are also assessed and authorized in accordance with it.

Contact us today to discover how LICENSALE.COM® assists MedTech companies in gaining access to Bahrain's medical devices market and 100+ others faster and more cost-effectively than ever before.



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