#40 Healthcare in Bahrain
Bahrain’s healthcare system dates back to the 1960s, but the first healthcare clinic was opened in the 1890s by missionary Reverend Samuel Zwemer and his wife Amy Wilkes, a missionary nurse. They diagnosed illnesses, dispensed medication, extracted teeth, and performed minor surgeries.
As the number of people needing medical attention grew, Zwemer requested physicians through the Reformed Church in the US. Two doctors came to Bahrain and built the Mason Memorial Hospital in 1903. Today, we know it as the American Mission Hospital (AMH).
To provide care for women, expecting mothers, and children, the Marion Thoms Memorial Hospital for Women and Children was opened in 1927. Today, it houses the AMH obstetrics and gynaecology clinic as well as the Zwemer clinic.
The first public hospital to be set up in Bahrain was Salmaniya Medical Complex, which today is the largest tertiary hospital in the Kingdom. SMC also houses the first and only psychiatric hospital, established in 1932.
The Bahrain Defence Force Hospital – Royal Medical Services (BDF-RMS) is the only hospital providing free healthcare for non-civilians on the island. What started as a small clinic in 1968 has today grown into one of the Kingdom’s major hospitals with nearly 500 beds.
The National Health Regulatory Authority was established in 2010 with a mission to regulate the provision of healthcare, the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) ensures efficiency, appropriateness, continuity, and safety in delivering health services in the public and private sectors.
Bahrain’s healthcare system and rapid response during the COVID-19 pandemic have been recognized and published in a case study by the World Health Organization.
This article is part of an ongoing series – 51 Great Things About Bahrain as a tribute to the Kingdom’s 51st National Day. Read more in this special edition.