The oil rich nation of Qatar, located on the Persian Gulf, has the world’s highest GDP per capita ratio. In addition to this, Qatar can also offer access to some of the best quality healthcare facilities in the world. Qatar has excellent emergency health facilities and routine treatment facilities. However, for non-Qatari residents and those who are not liable for the publicly funded national health plan, these healthcare facilities can be quite expensive.
Located in the South-west of Asia in the Middle East, Qatar gained independence on September the 3rd 1971 from Great Britain, after gaining independence Qatar developed issues of the type associated with any newly established independent nation. Included, the collapsing economy, border disputes with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and the constant siphoning of petroleum revenues by the Amir. Recently, however, after a bloodless coup staged in 1995 by the Amir’s son Amir HAMAD bin Khalifa Al-Than, the economy has since turned around as border disputes were resolved and the local oil revenue has allowed for Qatar to achieve the worlds highest GDP per capita.
Whenever you travel or relocate to a new country, it is often important to have some background information on your destination. As such we have provided a general outline of Qatar below. Please be advised that the information contained on this page may be liable to change without prior warning, and as such you should consult an expert for more details.
Official Name: State of Qatar
Capital City: The capital of Qatar, Doha, is located on the east coast of the country. Doha is also the countries most populated city, being home to 400,051 Qatari’s.
Location: Middle East, peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia
Size: 11,437 sq km, in comparison Qatar is slightly smaller than the U.S state of Connecticut and is the 163rd largest country in the world.
Climate: Qatar’s climate is usually attributed to being very arid, mild pleasant winters.Typically in summer, Qatar can be very hot and humid and temperatures of over 50˚C are not unheard of.
Population: Qatar’s population is currently estimated to be 841,000, making it the 154th most populated country in the world.
Life expectancy at birth: At birth the average Qatari lives for approximately 75.19 years, making it place 79th in the world, and above the world average of 66.12 years.
Ethnicities: Qatar is predominately of Arab ethnicity hovering around 40%. Other minor ethnicities include Indian 18%, Pakistani 18%, Iranian 10%, other 14%.
Languages: Arabic is the official language, however English is commonly used as a second language
Religion: Of the population roughly 77.5% are Muslim. The remaining percentage are made up of Christian 8.5%, other 14%
Government: The government of Qatar operates as an Emirate, basically a monarchy in which the Emir is the head of state.
Head of State: Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani
Economy: Qatar’s economy, like most other Middle Eastern countries, heavily relies on the production of oil. Due to the boom in world demand and increasing amount of production of oil and natural gases in Qatar’s economy, Qatar is in the midst of an economic boom. Economic policy is focused on development of Qatar's non associated natural gas reserves and increasing private and foreign investment in non-energy sectors. Oil and gas account for more than 60% of GDP, roughly 85% of export earnings, and 70% of government revenues. Oil and gas have made Qatar the highest per-capita income country and one of the world's fastest growing economies, particularly in the Middle East. Sustained high oil prices and increased natural gas exports in recent years have helped build Qatar's budget and trade surpluses and foreign reserves. Recognized oil reserves of more than 15 billion barrels should ensure continued output at current levels for 22 years. Qatar's proved reserves of natural gas are roughly 25 trillion cubic meters, about 15% of the world total and third largest in the world. Qatar has permitted substantial foreign investment in the development of its gas fields during the last decade and became the world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter in 2007.
GDP: Qatar’s actual GDP purchasing parity stands at $71.42 billion USD, and an actual GDP of $67.76 billion making it rank 77th in the world.
Qatar Medical Insurance News
Qatar, which has been ruled by the Al-Thani family since the mid 1800’s, was originally a poor British protectorate known for mainly its notorious pearling industry. Qatar gained independence from Britain in 3rd of September 1971. During the 1980’s, even though Qatar was collecting large amounts of oil revenue, its economy was in poor form. In the past Qatar’s healthcare facilities were limited and of very poor standard due to the problems in the economy, social unrest and political instability. These problems were mainly fuelled by conflicts in and around the Middle East.
However in recent times Qatar has been able to sort out its economic, social, and political problems and as such the economy, driven by oil and gas revenues, has seen unprecedented growth rates of 8.4% in GDP. This has lead to the springing up of numerous amounts of health facilities and hospitals in and around Doha, the Qatari capital. Surprisingly Qatar only spends as much as 1.9% of its GDP on healthcare, in comparison with the U.S which spends 8.1% of GDP, however due to its small population in regards to the purchasing parity of its GDP; this is enough to meet the needs of the Qatari people. Every Qatari citizen can expect to be covered by the national public health plan offered by the Hamad Medical Corporation. A company which has recently formed partnerships with well established western medical centers such as the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and also the world renowned hospital for sick children, in Toronto. Recently the Hamad Medical Corporation and the Qatari government have been working close together to implement the “health for all” initiative pledged to the people by the government. However this service is not extended to foreigners.
Supply to the high quality medical facilities is limited in Qatar, and as medical inflation is on a constant upwards spiral; it is costly for those not covered under the public national health plan. Therefore it is highly recommended that you take out health insurance, as failure to be covered by insurance can result in you paying for your treatment on the spot, which can be very expensive.
One statistic that highlights how well Qatar is doing in comparison to its Middle Eastern neighbors, is its life expectancy of 75.19; which over the last decade, has been constantly rising in sync with Qatar’s economy boom. This is well ahead of the world average of 66.12 years, and other Arab nations around the Middle East. Qatar ranks third for life expectancy in its region, closely behind Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In Qatar most communicable diseases, such as Tuberculosis, have all but since been eradicated and the risk is minimal, due to the high level of quality health care offered.
Even though there is minimal risk of catching any communicable diseases and visitors rarely fall sick in Qatar, the main type of health care claim taking out by expatriates and visitors to Qatar is that of emergency traffic accidents. This is due to the fact that in Qatar minor road accidents are very common and that there are two major road hazards. One being the general lack of cautiousness shown towards pedestrians by intolerant local drivers. This type of claim is fairly common as speed limits are high and road discipline is of poor quality. The other road hazard being soft pockets of sand and sabkha (salt flats) around the coast and in the interior which may not be apparent until it is too late. This can lead to car crashes and being stranded, as passing cars can be infrequent. It is recommended that you carry water, tow rope, jack and a spare tire as you never know when this accident might strike.
Qatar expat health insurance plans that we can offer you can give you comprehensive coverage no matter where you may be or when the unfortunate strikes. These plans will typically be guaranteed renewable for life, giving you the assurance that no matter what happens you will always have the quality treatment that you deserve. Policies usually offer you a number of additional benefits including coverage for out-patient treatment, maternity, dental, specialist consultations, alternative therapies, complimentary medicines, and emergency treatment, should the need to use any of these benefits arise.
Qatar Travel Tips
Whenever you travel overseas it is often useful to understand the local laws and customs in the destination country, as they can often be radically different from your own. Qatar is an Islamic country in which local law and Muslim values and beliefs are deeply enshrined together. These laws and values can be quite different from the ones that you maybe used to. As such we have provided some Qatar travel advice so that you may stay safe and better enjoy your trip.
Please be advised that the information contained on this page is not fully comprehensive and may be liable to change without prior warning, as such you should consult a travel expert prior to departing on your journey.
- A general threat from terrorism in Qatar remains present. Terrorists continue to issue statements threatening to carry out attacks in the Gulf region in particular references to attack Western interests, including residential compounds, places of worship, military, oil, transport and aviation interests.
- As of 26th September 2008, it has been made aware that new immigration regulations may affect foreign passport holders that have previously held residence permits in Qatar. It is strongly advisable that all foreign nationals who previously have held residence permits in Qatar and are planning to travel here as tourists to contact their airline and nearest Qatari Embassy, before they depart, to check the immigration requirements, as it may not be possible for them to purchase visit visas on arrival at Doha, Qatar, and may be refused entry into Qatar, and subsequent deportation may be a consequence.
- A large number of tourists visit Qatar every year. The main types of incident for which foreign nationals required consular assistance in Qatar are replacing lost and stolen passports; and dealing with arrests or detentions.
- Most visits are trouble free. There is minimal threat from crime; most criminal occurrences are related to mainly petty theft. Although incidents are not common, female visitors should take all necessary precautions and pay strict attention to all immediate surroundings when traveling alone at night.
- Regional political developments, including those in Iraq, Israel, Iran, and Lebanon continue to have an impact on local public opinion in the region. You should be aware of local sensitivities on these types of issues. You should follow news reports and be alert to regional developments. You should take sensible precautions for your personal safety and avoid public gatherings and demonstrations, as they could be possible terrorist targets.
- It is advised that road discipline is of poor quality; speeds limits are high and minor accidents common. In the first 10 months of 2007, 240 people died as a result of road traffic accidents. This equates to a ratio of 30 road deaths per 100,000 of population. This in comparison to U.S which has 10.2 road deaths per 100,000, U.K which has 5.5 road deaths per 100,000, and Australia which has 5.2 road deaths per 100,000
- If you have a motor accident, remain with your vehicle. It is an offence to leave the scene of the accident. Remain calm at all times, as there are significant penalties even any minor expressions of "road rage", such as rude gestures, and vulgar use of language.
- Foreigners may drive in Qatar for a maximum of 14 days on a foreign driving license following their arrival. After 14 days they must apply for a temporary Qatari license. This license is valid for 3 months. Once you obtain a residency permit, you must contact the local traffic department to obtain a full Qatar driving license, as you will no longer be permitted to drive on a foreign or temporary license. Driving on an International driver’s license is strictly prohibited in Qatar, and fines may apply.
- It is a serious offence in Qatar to drink and drive. There is zero tolerance for drinking and driving. Offenders of this nature will be detained and fined. Under new Qatari law regulations offenders are also likely to be imprisoned and in some cases deported. It should be further noted that any police case file being opened against you in respect of a driving or drinking related incident automatically results in a ban on leaving Qatar until your case has been resolved. Most cases are straightforward and are dealt with by the Public Prosecutor. However, more serious cases can take up to six months to be heard.
- Local laws reflect the fact that Qatar is an Islamic country. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas. As Qatar is an Islamic nation and accordance with Muslim values, it is expected that visitors dress modestly and behave in a courteous manner at all times; women should dress modestly with clothing covering the shoulders and knees at all times.
- The importation of any narcotics, alcohol, pornography, pork products and religious books and material, other than that of Muslim nature, is forbidden. Be aware that DVDs and videos may be subject to disapproval of the Qatari customs and may be censored accordingly. In particular, the penalties for possession of or trade in drugs are severe, often resulting in prison sentences. It is a serious punishable offence to drink alcohol, or be drunk, in public. Offenders may incur a prison sentence or deportation. Alcohol is, however, available at licensed hotel restaurants and bars. Intimacy in public, between men and women including teenagers, is strictly prohibited, and any homosexual behavior of any kind is illegal and carries high penalties of court.
- Foreigners living in Qatar can obtain alcohol on a permit system. You should not carry alcohol with you, including in your car.
- HIV/AIDS is not common in Qatar however you should exercise normal precautions to avoid possible exposure and infection to HIV/AIDS. The current adult prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Qatar stands at 0.09%
- Qatar is not known to have many diseases; however it is advised that you check with your local travel agency for any recommended vaccinations.
- Visitors should take precautions against the weather in Qatar as sandstorms are quite common and it is not unheard of for temperatures to reach over 50˚C.