1. Healthcare expenditure as a % of GDP in the MENA region in low compared to developed economies

On average OECD countries spend 9-10%+ of GDP on healthcare. The United States is an outlier here spending close to 17% of GDP on healthcare.

While spend levels are higher than some developing economies like India and Indonesia (3-4%), MENA countries have a relatively lower level of spend on healthcare compared to OECD countries and other developed economies.

The public spend on healthcare is higher in the region compared to private spend.

Total Healthcare Expenditure (Public + Private)

% of GDP

Note(s): 1. Data Retrieved from 2018

2. Hospital beds to patient ratio and doctor to patient ratio suggests gaps in Healthcare infrastructure and personnel in the region

The ratio of inhabitants to doctors and hospital beds suggests that gaps do exist in the healthcare eco-system in some MENA countries.

Thus, digitizing healthcare can help create efficiencies and improve access to healthcare solutions overall.

MENA Region and World Countries Healthcare Infrastructure

Per 1000 Inhabitants

Note(s): 1. Data Retrieved from 2018

3. eHealth platforms have come in to drive efficiencies and create value for consumers and suppliers

Numerous eHealth platforms have been operational in the region for some time now. Predominantly, the offerings have been around appointment booking, eConsultations and ePharma services. ePharma is a segment where hyperlocal players and traditional hospitals have also been focussing in a big way in the region. Hence pure play eHealth players are yet to make a strong presence here. ePharma however is the GTV driver for eHealth platforms globally, and we do expect eHealth platforms to integrate this offering into their services.

There are some players also focusing on Niche segments like Home Healthcare, Mental wellness, Electronic records etc.

List of eHealth players in the region (not exhaustive)


eHealth players focusing on Niche segments


4. Government backing & Rollout of eHealth applications has driven authenticity to digital healthcare solutions overall

The pandemic resulted in governments across the region rolling out digital applications to track and control it. This instilled authenticity to digital health solutions.

In addition to this, limitations on movement and social distancing norms resulted in consumers starting to adopt eHealth solutions.

Thus, the pandemic has served as a strong tailwind for adoption of eHealth solutions.

Government eHealth applications


5. The market is nascent compared to other regions, significant upside and diversification opportunity exists in other untapped segments

The eHealth market in the MENA region is still nascent compared to other markets like India and Indonesia (where the challenges in the traditional healthcare ecosystem are more pronounced, leading to more rapid adoption).

Most current solutions in MENA are tailored around appointment bookings, ePharma and eConsultations. More lucrative segments from the standpoint of margin realization like eDiagnostics, specialized/remote consultations, home healthcare etc. are yet to be penetrated.

Furthermore, many niche segments in healthcare also exist including mental & sexual wellness, health and lifestyle, precision medicine, AI diagnostics to name a few.

There exists strong opportunity for creating digital health solutions to drive efficiencies in the healthcare market for all in the region.

Business Models in eHealth, and relative evolution 


Note: Harvey balls plotted based on relative maturity of business model in the region from the standpoint of penetration


  • Sandeep is the Partner of Redseer Strategy Consultants looking at the Middle East and Africa. He has 13+ years of experience in consulting and technology.