Interview with Islam Jaber

Regional Managing Director - Middle East and North East Africa

Islam Jaber is the Regional Managing Director for Abbott in Middle East and Northeast Africa, covering Saudi Arabia, Gulf, Levant, and Northeast Africa. He was appointed to this role in February 2023 & he joined Abbott in 2004 and has held several leadership roles. Islam currently located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. During his 20 years of experience, he led several projects and initiatives that helped thousands of patients across his region to live healthier lives. Islam is a popular figure in his region; he is recognized and has been awarded on multiple occasions locally & globally. Islam has a bachelor’s degree in Electronics & Telecommunications Engineering from Amman Al-Ahliyah University, Jordan.

Tell us about your presence, operations and focus areas on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? 

Abbott is a global healthcare leader that helps people enjoy healthier, fuller lives. Our wide portfolio of life-changing products and solutions span diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic medicines. Abbott has been serving Saudi Arabia since 1958 and we take pride in being a strategic healthcare partner to the Kingdom and to contribute to the development of the healthcare sector through several national health programs and activities.

Our team of over 400 people work hard to ensure that the people we serve have constant access to our trusted products and services. In addition to Abbott’s long-standing presence in Saudi Arabia through our offices in Riyadh and Jeddah, we inaugurated in 2023 our Regional Headquarters in Riyadh to be closer to our consumers and customers and enhance our ability to serve people better and more efficiently.

As a local/foreign entity, what are your thoughts on the healthcare industry in Saudi Arabia and its recent development? 

As one of the key sectors contributing to Saudi Arabia’s forward-looking economy, the Kingdom has made significant strides in developing its healthcare infrastructure to achieve remarkable improvement in the quality of care, the application of virtual healthcare platforms and the enhancement of healthcare services. The sector offers a wide range of opportunities within the transformation journey mainly around the Health Clusters and the primary healthcare network across the Kingdom and the clear innovation of healthcare automation and digitization.

In your opinion, please identify some key areas of growth and the role your organization is playing to tap into various opportunities and partnerships?

In alignment with Saudi Vision 2030, Abbott aims at being a leading and strategic partner to the Kingdom, delivering innovative, trusted and insight-driven solutions. Over the next several years, Abbott plans to enrich its portfolio in the Kingdom by introducing new products, expanding its localization plans, and developing local Saudi talent and healthcare capabilities.

Through a local third-party manufacturer (TPM), Abbott began packaging medicines in Saudi Arabia several years ago and has now moved towards full manufacturing. Also, Abbott has been manufacturing science-based nutrition products in the Kingdom for more than a decade now, and currently exports to several countries across the Middle East and Africa. We are currently pursuing a clear roadmap to advance our local manufacturing in the Kingdom.

Tell us about your portfolio, recent achievements, and goals for the next 12 months.  

Beyond local manufacturing, Abbott provides continuous education to more than 35,000 healthcare professionals across the Kingdom to raise awareness of new research and science around nutrition, pharmaceuticals, diabetes care and diagnostics. This is part of Abbott’s broader commitment to developing Saudi talent.

We will continue to expand oinvestment in Saudi Arabia by:

  • Creating new jobs for Saudi citizens.
  • Delivering state-of-the-art treatment solutions to patients.
  • Upgrading the knowledge and skills of the Saudi medical community through continuous medical educational programs.
  • Helping clusters to drive services consolidation and efficiency improvement across their network, using automation and digital innovation.
  • Helping healthcare institutions and centers to move gradually from treatment to a prevention-focused model of care to improve health and clinical outcomes for patients and result in long-term cost savings.

What will you be showcasing at the Global Health Exhibition 2023 and what are you looking forward to most at the event?

We will be showcasing life-changing products and solutions that help people live healthier lives. Among those is our innovative continuous glucose monitoring system, FreeStyle Libre®, our portfolio of point of care and rapid self-tests, our automation and digital Core lab solutions, as well as several pharmaceutical and science-based nutrition products, many of which are proudly manufactured in Saudi Arabia.