Rapidly growing population, a slowly aging society and the high occurrence of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cancer and cardio-vascular diseases, these days in Saudi Arabia, creating a vast new demand for healthcare services.
Thats why the government has given higher priority to the development of healthcare services at all levels and insurances key to the development.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) is the lead government agency, which is responsible for the supervision, planning, management, regulating and financing of the healthcare and hospitals in both the public and private sectors and serve the general public throughout Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) and the Ministry of Defense and Aviation (MODA), two other agencies, serve the members of the armed forces and members of their families, according to the branch of the military in which the individual serves.
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The Ministry of Interior (MOI) serves members the ministry of the interior, including the customs collectors and police .
And also there are some other autonomous government agencies which are responsible for the financing and delivery of health care services in the KSA. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs operates custodial homes for orphans and institutions for the mentally retarded. The Ministry of Education provides healthcare to students.
The Saudi Red Crescent Society plays an effective role in providing emergency services at the pre-hospital stage either during the transportation of patients to hospitals or at the scene of accidents. It also provides such services during Hajj and Umrah at the Holy Places of Mecca and Medina.
Moreover, health facilities including dispensaries, pharmacies, laboratories, hospitals, and physiotherapy are provided by private sector.
Challenges to the Healthcare System
- limited financial resources
- shortage of Saudi health professionals
- changing patterns of diseases
- multiple roles of the health ministry
- high demand resulting from free services
- lack of a national health information system
- poor accessibility to some health care facilities