Sefore it began processing its oil and natural gas resources, Qatar was a poor country where disease and early death were common. By the 1970s, however, Qatari citizens enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the world, and their health had improved dramatically. Today, average life expectancy for men in Qatar is 70 and for women, 76.

Qatar provides free medical and dental care to citizens and residents. The health care system covers the entire spectrum of services, from primary care to specialized hospital procedures. The Ministry of Health runs hospitals, health centres and quarantine clinics and issues medical certificates. A system of well-equipped public clinics and hospitals is staffed mainly by foreign doctors and nurses; however, Qataris are gradually starting to fill medical positions at all levels. Services at government clinics and health centres are free, but foreigners must pay for a health card and for certain treatments, such as dialysis. Citizens and foreigners also pay for some dental procedures. Some Qataris who can afford the fee prefer to receive medical treatment at private clinics in Doha.

Youth welfare is currently a high priority for the Qatari government. About 30% of Qataris are under the age of 15. The government sponsors recreational and cultural clubs and facilities for young people, and offers incentives for young Qataris to complete their education.

   Did you know?
The University of Qatar sponsors research into the medicinal properties of local plants. Jaad is a type of mint that is used to treat stomach upsets and rheumatism, while ephedra is taken for nasal problems, and githgath can alleviate a wide range of ailments.

   Did you know?
Qatari hospitals do not restrict visiting hours; a constant stream of family and friends arrives to visit patients. Wealthy patients even bring their maids when they go into hospital.