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United Nations Development Programme
Arab Development Portal: Thematic Workshop on Health
ADP - Arab Development Portal
Beirut - Lebanon
22 Nov 2016
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Beirut - Lebanon
Despite the variability of health challenges seen in the different Arab countries, almost all countries in the Arab world have made some significant health gains over the past two decade, with life expectancy in the Arab region increasing from 67.6 years in 2000 to 70.6 in 2015 and under-five mortality rates per 1000 live births dropping from 60.4 to 36.7 for the same period. The disparity between Arab countries is evident, for instance life expectancy at birth ranges between 55 years in Somalia and 78.2 years in Qatar in 2015, under-five mortality rates per 1000 live births in 2015 range between 6.2 in Bahrain and 136.8 in Somalia and skilled health professional density by 10,000 population ranges between 196.1 in Qatar and 1.5 in Somalia.

Amongst the main challenges facing the Arab countries is the high fraction of out-of-pocket health expenditure as fraction of total health expenditure— in 2013, this fraction was among the highest in the Arab region reaching around 40%. Major shortages of physicians and nurses/ midwives are another matter for concern in most Arab countries.

A major challenge is the shortage of timely, good-quality, and disaggregated data on the health systems in the Arab region hindering the full understanding of the performance of the health systems at national and sub-national levels; several Arab NSOs have no available statistics on the country’s respective health system, such as Lebanon and Libya, while other NSOs have plenty of timely and disaggregated health indicators, like that of Bahrain and Egypt that offer more than 80 health-related indicators.
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