KUWAIT CITY, Oct 14: In this week’s Arab Times online poll, readers reacted to the Ministry of Health’s decision to stop kidney dialysis for expatriates with the majority of respondents condemning the action as inhumane.
According to recent news reports, the Ministry of Health has stopped providing kidney dialysis treatment to expatriates.
Informed sources had disclosed that a number of expatriate patients at Sheikh Mubarak Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah Dialysis Center in Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital were surprised when informed that the treatment will no longer be offered to them.
The action was justified by pointing out that a law in this regard was issued several years ago but never implemented and there seems to be a plan to enforce it now. 89% of voters felt the MoH’s directive was inhumane even as expatriates had state medical insurance. “It makes no sense that the MoH would just terminate an essential service like this when expatriates pay compulsory annual health insurance. Where is that money going?”, a reader asked.
“Hospitals are for the needy, it is very wrong to refuse treatment to the sick on the basis of their nationality. This is the first time I have heard of a country restricting medical services to expatriates”, another voter shared. “Expatriates who have been working in Kuwait and have been paying medical insurance should not be looked upon as people exploiting the system. If the costs are high, other measures should be taken to offset it. What is the point of paying for medical insurance every year if the hospital can arbitrarily decide to suspend services?”, a reader told the Arab Times.
5% shared that this would lead to patients seeking out medical services in private hospitals. “This should be good news to the private hospitals in Kuwait who will now receive a slew of patients with no alternative”, a respondent shared.
Many expressed concerns that expatriate patients needing dialysis have few affordable options in Kuwait. “In Kuwait, the expatriate is a cash cow. Very few companies in Kuwait provide employees with benefits like health insurance coverage at the private hospitals and these hospitals charge whatever they like. Without insurance, the charges are too exorbitant for expatriate workers.”
Another 4% shared that it was wrong to implement a law now, which was passed several years ago. “Why are they suddenly enforcing outdated laws? This is all just a pretext for them to stop services for expats.”
Only 2% of respondents favored the move as the service is a burden on the MoH’s resources. “The world dialysis burden has compounded staggeringly in the last few decades. We should be reevaluating the benefits of dialysis on older patients and look at increasing home based dialysis therapies”, a reader pointed out.
By Cinatra Fernandes Arab Times Staff