Bahrain is one of the smallest countries in the Gulf, however despite that it has plenty to offer expats - especially those moving to the region for the very first time. A friendly and relatively liberal population, island mentality and high levels of healthcare spending can combine to make a move a highly attractive one.
The beginning of November has been a busy period for the country, so we’ve compiled a quick roundup of the latest health news stories that you may have missed.
Deputy Prime Minister Calls for Increase in Research
Bahrain’s Deputy Premier, Shaikh Khalid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, has called for further investment into medical research in the country, to focus on helping target localised health issues.
Speaking at the King Hamad University Hospital Awards for Scientific Research, Al Khalifa highlighted the importance of further medical research, especially in the areas of disease prevention and treatment - two major factors targeted in the Bahraini strategy for scientific Research 2014-2024.
In his speech at the ceremony, Al Khalifa hailed the awards and Bahrain’s medical researchers, telling attendees that it was one of the most important initiatives in medical and health research, and one which has contributed to boosting the concept of scientific research locally, whilst also increasing the number of researchers in the country.
14 Medical Facilities Accredited to Perform Expat Check-ups
A further 14 medical facilities in Bahrain have been granted accreditation to carry out health check-ups on expats seeking employment in the country.
The expansion was announced on Thursday (9/11) by the National Health Regulatory Authority CEO, Dr Maryam Al Jalahma, with each of the 14 private facilities having to meet a range of criteria before being granted the right to carry out the services. This included inspections of labs, x-ray machines and other equipment, as well as observations on the administrative side of the operation.
All the qualifying facilities will also now make use of a new electronic program, which allows potential workers’ data and results to be uploaded directly to the Ministry of Health’s online portal.
It is hoped that the growth in facilities, and introduction of the online portal, will cut waiting times for expats needing medical clearance from a month to just a week.
Demands from MP for Heavy Alcohol Tax
Bahraini MP Mohammed Al Maarifi has, this week, called for high taxes to be imposed on alcohol in the Kingdom, having expressed his displeasure at new VAT laws that will increase the price of tobacco and sugary drinks shortly in the country.
Speaking to parliament, Al Maarifi said: “If the government is really concerned about the public's health and is not simply imposing additional levies, they should consider putting a tax on alcoholic products.”
Under the new VAT laws, which are being introduced throughout the Gulf over the next 12 months, the price of tobacco will double, whilst carbonated drinks will have a 50% levy placed on them. Throughout the Gulf there are hopes that this will help to sustain economies post oil-boom, whilst also targeting the extremely high rate of lifestyle related diseases across the region.