Manama: Qatar spent $2.615 billion on health care in 2010, a national report has said.
Most of the expenditure or 77.5 per cent of it was funded by the public sector and 22.5 percent by the private sector, according to the first Qatar National Health Accounts Report released by the Supreme Council of Health (SCH).
The size of the private health insurance increased by 16 per cent last year from that of 2009, from $141.5 million to almost $165 million. A major portion of the total health expenditure (77 per cent) was managed by SCH, followed by Qatar Foundation (14 per cent) and other government organisations (6 percent), Qatari daily The Peninsula reported on Sunday.
The highest portion of the private sector funds were managed by households (71 per cent) in the form of out-of-pocket payments, 28 per cent by private health insurance, and one percent by charitable organisations.
Faleh Mohammad Hussain Ali, Assistant Secretary General for Policy Affairs at the SCH, said that the expenditure was distributed as follows: 26 percent for in-patient, long term, and rehabilitative care services, 27 percent for out-patient and daycare services, 12 percent for ancillary services such as clinical laboratories, 9.5 percent for medical goods dispensed to outpatients, nine percent for public health and insurance, 15 percent for gross capital formation (investment) in health, and 1.5 percent for all other services.
Abdullah bin Khalid Al Qahtani, the health minister, highlighted the significance of the report in enabling policy makers to assess the financial implications related to the ongoing health care reforms in the health sector.
The report suggested that Qatar needs to implement reforms that offer effective pooling of funds in order to maintain a sustainable and affordable health care system.
The planned social health insurance (SHI) is a successful tool for pooling health care funds.
"To free resources and enhance the efficiency of the healthcare system, the SCH planned a specific reform to gradually transfer the services from the tertiary care providers to the ambulatory providers," the report said. "Efforts should be made to ensure that this reform is enhanced by a gradual reallocation of funds from the public hospitals to the primary health care PHC."