Open Journal Systems

Health Systems of the World - Saudi Arabia

John Baranowski



• In early 2000 the World Health Organization's global evaluation rated Saudi Arabia in the 26th position and the US in the 37th.
o For a youthful kingdom this surprising position may unjustified and perhaps short lived.
o Significant overall population health shifts are in rapid motion in Saudi.
o The new kingdom's life style coupled with a rising level of comfort and population age as well as disdain toward exercise is sure to exacerbate the present national health care demands.
o A 20% increase in population by 2016 alone is certain to tax the already challenged heath care system.
• The apparent over burdened health care system of Saudi Arabia appears quite similar to the US at a high level but as a result of distinctly different factors.
o Healthcare in the kingdom is a national entitlement not a procured protection.
o Saudi Arabia's cutting edge facilities are equipped with state of the art equipment while manned with well trained professionals acquired by way of aggressive recruitment and education techniques.
• The apparent success of the Saudi program is attributed to the primary advantage when comparing nations - the royal checkbook.
o Because of the seemingly endless royal cash flow little desire or effort is committed toward efficiency and/or self sufficiency.
o What appears to be the Arabic health system's guardian gift horse may also root its lame inefficiencies.
• Recognition of these negligent shortcomings has caused Saudi government officials to initiate privatization of the national health care system.
o However, historic behaviors and tribal mannerisms of the Arabic population, derived from its nomadic days, allow little room for change.
o Paternalistic commitments of the tribal communities often satisfy the tribe while unjustly burdening the employing health care provider.
o Apparent inefficiencies result, but are often times clouded in the myriad of manipulated outcomes data and skewed budget reporting.
o Quality of life is frequently sacrificed in the false attempt to enhance outcomes data.

• DRG classification measures should be implemented and accurately reported in order to best assess current state status of the system.
• Long term strategic plans are in order to best evaluate measure and implement change in the attempt to redirect a run away health care system.
• Privatization and the accompanying competition will drive reform gradually, but at what cost to the existing system and the citizens that rely on its care.
• Active monitoring and corrective legislation is required to stimulate the process.
• Oil revenue has served to create a strong foundation for a globally recognized healthcare system in a relatively young nation but it will take more than money to continue its survival as well as improve its delivery and/or global ranking.


World Health

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