Healthcare in Qatar


The children have been in Doha, Qatar for a little over a week. Olive, 8, and Iris, 2, have been enjoying their little vacation. The children came from India to spend their summer vacation with their grandparents. But hours after touchdown the dry climate did not sit well with the little ones. Their skin turned blotchy and itchy. By day 3, they had exhausted their usual medication and remedies. Qatar, they realised, has a very strict policy when it comes to doling out medicines over the counter. By day 6, the scene had changed to worse. The rashes flared up and had to be rushed to the hospital by the panicked family. But, luckily for Olive and Iris, a trip to a private clinic brought things under control.

The World Health Organisation claims that Qatar spends more money on healthcare than any other country in the Middle East. The country provides world class healthcare free of cost for nationals and is heavily subsidised for expatriates. Qatar has a huge network of public and private hospitals that boast good quality care. Healthcare in Qatar is monitored and evaluated by the Supreme Council of Health (SCH), and all hospitals must be accredited to this body. All expatriates seeking a residence permit in Qatar go through medical examination by the council, which issues them medical certificates upon entry to the country. Apparently, the health centre issues over 1,000 medical certificates in a day. Public Healthcare The Hamad Medical Corporation is the primary government-run, non profit public healthcare provider in Qatar, responsible for managing eight hospitals, the national ambulance service, home healthcare service and primary health centres that are provided in each geographical region. The corporation runs the Hamad General Hospital which has over 65 specialty clinics and has excellent nursing care. To ensure subsidised treatment at public hospitals, expatriates have to obtain a health card from any Hamad Medical Corporation clinic or hospital. For the card, you will need:

  1. Qatari residence permit (QID)

  2. Copies of your passport and visa

  3. Two passport-size photos (4x3cm with blue background)

  4. Qr. 100 per card per person

  5. Attested Rental contract by Baladiya

  6. Electricity Bill ( KAHRAMA Bill)

  7. For children, you will also need to bring valid birth and vaccination certificates

Expats with an HMC card can also benefit from subsidised prescriptions at government-run pharmacies, free emergency surgical procedures and subsidised non-emergency surgical procedures. The application can take a while to be processed, so it is best applied for as soon as the residence permit is obtained. Since applications are not accepted in the afternoon, do take care to apply for the same in the early part of the day. Renewal of the health cards can be done online via the Hukoomi Qatar government portal, or in person at all HMC hospitals. A lost card that is still valid costs QAR100 for a replacement, while lost cards that have expired cost QAR200 for a replacement. Private Healthcare The country has many private clinics and hospitals which provide quality care. It has been estimated that roughly two thirds of the hospitals in Qatar are privately-run. These hospitals are still monitored by the SCH and are expected to meet the same exacting standards applied to public hospitals. Though the fee is on the higher side, the waiting period is shorter and there are many English-speaking doctors working in these hospitals. Do remember that the health card does not cover treatment in such hospitals so health insurance should be considered essential to cover treatment fees. Many employers do provide access to medical insurance for the entire family. Are you looking for assistance to get a health card or undertake any other PRO services for you or your company, please feel free to reach out to us at BBMS on our hotline, +974 40 120 333 or email us at info@bbms.qa

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