Explore policy-related opportunities for governments, health officials and companies operating in the MENA health sector.
The Levant region has experienced instability and unrest in recent years. However, there are pockets of economic strength emerging including within the health care sector. For example, Lebanon spends more of its GDP (8.0 percent) on health than any other country in the Middle East. More broadly, countries are beginning to reduce bureaucratic delays that will help bring foreign investment, resulting in more effective and efficient health systems, innovative breakthroughs, more health care choices and faster access to new treatments.
Investing in Health
Currently, Lebanon is a leader in the Levant region in government spending as a percentage of the GDP with 8 percent dedicated funding. Other countries including Jordan, Turkey and Iraq spend well below this, at 5.4 percent, 4.3 percent, and 3.3 percent, respectively.
Building the Health Care Workforce
In the Levant, Lebanon leads the number of doctors per 1,000 population with 2.4, according to the World Health Organization, exceeding the world average of 1.5. However, in other parts of the region, countries lack a sufficient number of health professionals to keep up with demand and rising rates of NCDs. Iraq and Jordan, for example, have only 0.8 doctors per 1,000 population.
Attracting Innovation & Investment
Countries in the Levant conduct a relatively small number of clinical trials compared to other economies in MENA. Lebanon and Jordan lead the region, conducting 382 and 163 clinical trials respectively from 2000 to 2017.
Speeding Quality Treatments to Market
Some countries within Levant are working to improve IP protections to reduce patent office delays. For example, in Lebanon, regulatory improvements have led to faster registrations of innovations. However, long patent office delays still exist within the region, delaying market entry of valuable new treatments and cures.
Providing Access to Innovation
Government regulation sharply limits patient access to new, quality treatments in the region, however countries like Lebanon have made attempts to revive IP-related legislation. Ratifying these laws will help attract greater investment and provide greater access to innovation.