The Saudi Health Exhibition & Conference 2014 brought together healthcare companies, industry leaders, healthcare executives, medical care providers, suppliers and government delegates from 35 countries to explore new opportunities in the changing healthcare sector landscape in the Kingdom.
The second edition of Saudi Health Exhibition & Conference, the largest healthcare event in Saudi Arabia, successfully completed a “large number of business deals and cooperation agreements worth several billions of Saudi riyals,” according to a report by the Saudi Gazette .
A huge turnout of some 12,000 visitors from 35 countries easily beat last year’s inaugural event in terms of attendance by 30 percent. Ten conferences sponsored by the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCFHS) were held for health care professionals working in the Kingdom’s healthcare sub-sectors of hospital management, medical laboratory and engineering, physical rehabilitation, nuclear medicine, cardiology, and nursing. Together they discussed current challenges and opportunities facing the Kingdom’s booming healthcare industry.
“The 2nd Saudi Health Exhibition & Conference success reassured the positive and promising status of the Saudi health care sector and its importance to the local industry leaders, in line with a foreign participation of 35 countries that confirmed the international interest in discussing cooperation prospects for the sake of promoting the potential and performance of the health care sector,” Dr. Salah Al- Mazroa, Deputy Minister of Health for Engineering Affairs and Supply, said in a statement.
Aside from being a three-day business networking event, Saudi Health 2014 offered local stakeholders in the Kingdom’s healthcare industry knowledge of the latest healthcare technologies and how to apply them in their own settings.
“The high proportion of visitors and their active participation have attracted the attention of all participants as it highlighted the importance of this event in terms of developing healthcare sector and addressing its challenges. We look forward to work together with all the contributors and sponsors to enhance the remarkable success of this event in the future,” Dr. Salah Al- Mazroa added.
The event featured 300 exhibitors who showcased the latest products and solutions in healthcare technology in booths placed across a 7,500-square-meter space. Middle East-based companies from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Pakistan were joined by exhibitors from the United States, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and China.
Eleven major sponsors of the event consisted of major local and foreign healthcare industry players, namely: Rakaa Medical Company, Siemens Saudi Arabia, GE Healthcare, Drager Saudi Arabia, Salehiya Medical, Care and Planning for Hospital Co. Ltd., Nawah Healthcare, Mediserv-Medical Supplies and Services Co, Saudi German Hospitals, Gulf Medical Company and 3M.
The background of sponsors and delegates in the event indicate the bullish outlook of investors toward the Kingdom’s healthcare sector, specifically in the context of the government’s drive to elevate care standards using the latest medical technologies.
“ICT and health care investments are converging to create connected health opportunities in Saudi Arabia, where ICT investments are set to transform health care and improve the lives of citizens and residents here,” Laurent Marini, country manager of Saudi Arabia for Orange Business Services and managing director of Orange Business Arabia, said in an interview with Business Week.
Through events like Saudi Health 2014 and last month’s Ministry of Health and HIMSS Middle East Conference and Exhibition, the Saudi government wants to increase the share of private sector expenditure in total healthcare spending from the present level of 25 percent in order to offset some of the burden of providing services by the public sector.
Saudi Arabia is in the midst of overhauling its healthcare system by encouraging private enterprises to fund more projects in order to meet growing healthcare demand. The Kingdom’s population is projected to spike from 23 million to 30 million by 2016, a 20 percent increase from the current level, according to market information figures from the Saudi Health 2014 web site.