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Navigating Healthcare Pr In The Middle East

Working as a PR professional in the Middle East, specifically in the UAE, I’ve had the opportunity to witness the region’s commitment to constant improvement, particularly in the healthcare sector. One area that has seen significant growth is mental health and wellbeing and I’ve had the privilege of being involved in numerous campaigns aimed at raising awareness and destigmatizing mental health issues.


Understanding the unique characteristics of the region’s healthcare sector is crucial. Factors such as rapid population growth, lifestyle diseases (for instance, the GCC has some of the highest obesity rates globally), and Government reforms are reshaping the sector.


Healthcare PR professionals in the Middle East need to understand these drivers to support clients as they navigate changes and seize new opportunities. One such opportunity I’ve observed is the expansion of mental health services, now included in an increasing number of insurance providers’ policies.


The Middle East, particularly the GCC region, offers an exciting and rewarding landscape for healthcare PR. Here are some key insights I’ve learned:


The healthcare sector is growing: All GCC countries are significantly investing in healthcare. It’s essential to align PR strategies with this growth trajectory. For instance, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious ‘Vision 2030’ transformation program includes developing its healthcare infrastructure to provide comprehensive, integrated care.


Technology and automation: The region is heavily investing in health system reforms, particularly the technological transformation of its healthcare sector. The UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are spearheading digital health initiatives and investing in healthcare IT and digital transformation.


Get clued-up about regulatory challenges: Each GCC country has its own distinct regulatory framework. Understanding licensing requirements, advertising guidelines, and compliance is crucial. Engaging with local health authorities and media outlets is highly recommended.


Be aware of your surroundings: The GCC is home to diverse nationalities, languages, and customs. PR campaigns must be tailored to resonate with local sensibilities. Understanding religious practices, holidays, and social norms is crucial for creating localized content that ensures better resonance, engagement, and media pick-up.


Know your audience: The GCC houses large ex-pat populations alongside the local population. It’s important to cater to both audiences and their distinct media preferences. Materials should be created in both English and Arabic, with messaging tailored to each audience.


Leveraging Digital Transformation: The region’s social media industry is booming, thanks to a young, tech-savvy population. Dubai, a prime market for global influencers, is home to over 25,000 influencers. Leveraging social media and influencer support for PR campaigns is key.


CSR and Sustainability: CSR initiatives resonate well in the GCC. An organization’s commitment to social responsibility, environmental concerns, community health, and ethical practices will be well-received.


Navigating the healthcare PR landscape in the Middle East is a dynamic and rewarding journey. It requires a deep understanding of the region’s unique characteristics, cultural sensitivities, and areas of growth. By staying abreast of the latest developments, leveraging digital transformation, and navigating regulatory challenges, PR professionals can effectively support their clients in this rapidly evolving sector.


If you would like to know how we could support your business growth in this region, please do get in touch.

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