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HH the Amir during his meeting with Speaker of the National Assembly at the Bayan Palace
‘Kuwait must give medical care to visit visa holders’ Country generous by nature, blessed: Dr Abdallah

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 22: Several expatriates, medical practitioners and politicians have stressed the need for providing opportunities to foreigners to obtain medical treatment in public hospitals after entering Kuwait on visit visas. During a press conference, they said Kuwait is a blessed and generous country, so it is hard to imagine that a person on a visit visa here is unable to receive treatment in public hospitals especially when the cost for treatment in private hospitals is exorbitant.

One of the expatriates, Bilal Mabrook narrated his medical bill ordeal, saying his late father, who had been working in Kuwait for 35 years under work visa 18, was admitted in a hospital in Kuwait for treatment. When the visa expired while he was still under treatment, he was given visa extension of article 14 until he finished his treatment course. However, at the end of the treatment, Mabrook was shocked to receive a medical bill of KD 600. When he inquired about the bill, he was told that his father was considered as a person in the country on a visit visa and was given treatment accordingly despite the fact that his father was on visa 18 when he started the treatment but was unable to renew it due to his medical condition.

Another expatriate, Sharif Hassan narrated that his son, who was in the country with his mother on a visit visa, became very sick but every time they went to the clinic and hospital, he was told that the public medical facilities are not allowed for people on a visit visa. He added that private hospitals in Kuwait are very expensive and have limited facilities compared to public hospitals. Another expatriate known as Haitham Al-Kafi suggested that an expatriate resident of Kuwait pays an annual medical insurance of KD 50; therefore, paying an extra KD 10 or KD 20 for medical insurance while applying for visit visa for their families to receive medical treatment while on a visit will not be a problem. He stressed that such a solution to the medical treatment issue is based on a humanitarian aspect, as Kuwait has a clean record of carrying out humanitarian work with poor nations around the world. He added that the treatment of a person in the country on a visit visa will be an exceptional case, and will not cost the state a lot of money.

The Head of Foreign Workers Office at the Kuwait Labor Union Abdulrahman Al-Ghanim said, “When a country allows a foreigner to enter its borders, it must provide them with medical treatment if the need arises”. Al-Ghanim indicated that global institutions dictate to provide treatment to any visitor in any country.

Therefore, it is not permissible if the receptionist of a clinic or hospital refuses an opportunity for treatment to a foreigner who is in the country on a visit or commercial visa, adding that such cases will tarnish the reputation of Kuwait. He further indicated that Kuwaiti laws do not prohibit offering treatment to foreigners on visit or commercial visas in Kuwait. However, some individuals who exercise influence over the authority in an improper manner are responsible for this problem.

He urged the governmental authorities to eliminate such obstacles and bureaucracy that negatively affect the image of Kuwait. Dr Mohammad Al- Abdallah, a consultant dermatologist, explained that when he was pursuing his doctorate in Canada, every time he fell sick, he was treated under the expense of Canadian government even though he was in Canada on a visit visa. He insisted that the Kuwaiti government can offer medical treatment to the visitors in the country through its public hospitals by charging extra fee such as KD 10 at the time of the visit or commercial visa application, such that it will cover the medical expenses of the visitor during his stay in the country.

He suggested that such duties can be taken care of by private insurance companies, adding that providing medical treatment to a human being is a sign of humanity. “Kuwait is generous by nature and blessed. The officials of the concerned government bodies must look into this issue to find solutions for providing medical treatment in public facilities for people are in the country on visit visas”, added Dr Al-Abdallah A member of the High Commission of Planning Dr Bin Shab’an Khalid Sha’ban said the only solution to this issue from his perspective is for the companies to provide temporary health insurance for their visitors in the country on commercial visas.

Regarding those on family visit visas, he suggested that an extra KD 15 to 20 should be imposed for temporary health insurance at the time of application of a family visit visa so that the state does not bear extra financial expenses in this aspect. He added, “It is not allowed for a person on a visit visa in the country to undergo surgery, as the government has to bear the cost of such operations. Therefore, implementing a temporary health insurance plan might serve the concerned parties fairly”.

By: Najeh Bilal Al-Seyassah Staff

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