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Call for mandatory medical checkup to stamp residence Bid to prevent spread of infectious diseases

In this week’s online poll, the Arab Times took up the issue of infectious diseases and asked voters their opinion on how to protect citizens and expatriates from their spread.

About 38% of the voters favored compulsory annual health checkup for all residents in Kuwait. Respondents said tests for certain key infectious diseases should be made mandatory for residence renewal. “This way everyone will have to undergo these tests compulsorily.” Some respondents, while supporting annual checkups, said the hospitals and labs will have to enhance their facilities to conduct a large number of tests every year. “With the current facilities, the hospitals would be unable to meet the demand, only making life difficult for everyone, both hospital staff and visitors.”

Others complained that the current system is not geared up in the least for such a large number of tests. Many people shared bad experiences they encountered during medical tests. Either the results took too long to come or they were inaccurate.”

About 22% of the voters preferred to have more hospitals to deal exclusively with infectious diseases. Respondents said that the health sector in Kuwait is overly stretched and the existing hospitals would be unable to take on the burden. Some health experts unwilling to disclose their names said that the public hospitals in Kuwait are already overheated working way above capacity. “This is bad for the patients and the doctors. In such a system, mistakes are bound to happen, and we cannot further burden the staff to tackle infectious diseases. There is clearly a need for more hospitals.”

Other voters, 21%, felt that creating awareness among the people to follow hygienic lifestyles would be an effective solution. When talking to the Arab Times, people who supported this view said that prevention is better than cure. “Most infectious diseases spread as a result of unsanitary conditions and habits. “During the earlier epidemic scare, children at schools were taught the use of hand disinfectants and the importance of regularly washing hands and face.

These are simple, low-cost solutions, but highly effective.” Further respondents said that interventions need to be conducted at high-risk zones such as schools, universities, restaurants, malls and places where people get together. Pamphlets and posters should be produced in many languages to reach expatriates.

About 11% of the voters banked on compulsory health checks for those returning from foreign trips. “We are living in a world where people travel frequently,” said respondents. “This increases the chance of people contracting infections from other countries, and spreading it in their place of residence.” A small percentage of votes favored deportation of infected expatriates and quarantine of infected citizens


By: Valiya S. Sajjad Arab Times Staff

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