RECENTLY, England announced its intention to reduce the length of the period that inbound travellers will spend in quarantine from 14 days to 5 days, provided they test negative for COVID-19 infection.
In Kuwait, returning passengers have to produce a COVID-free certificate before boarding the plane. Upon their arrival, they undergo random COVID tests. Despite having negative results in both cases, they are still obliged to spend 14 days under home quarantine, during which the health authority keeps a tab on them from time to time to ensure the quarantine requirement is being observed.
Here, we consider the generations that lived in Kuwait in the fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties … etc when Britain and its doctors were rich in culture, knowledge and confidence. So those who were not able to get proper treatment in Kuwait were sent to hospitals in London.
I lived in London for two years in the seventies, and at that time, the clinics for the best private doctors were located along a street called Harley Street.
Doctors there didn’t add the initial “Dr”, which means doctor, before their names if they did not possess high medical qualifications. They usually used the initials “Mr”, which means mister.
I remember going to a doctor at Harley Street for the first time with one of my wife’s friends. After receiving treatment and leaving the doctor’s office, I asked the receptionist for the bill. Somewhat rudely, she told me that she will send the bill by mail as they do not accept cash payment, To me, that definitely represented a high level of trust and pride.
Back to present Kuwait and to those in charge of our health affairs including procurement of medicines, we find that corruption has crept and gnawed every inch of the health docket.
Hundreds of millions have been spent without any tangible return. “Parachute appointments” and that of the well-connected are rampant. It is enough to refer to the recent scandal related to the fire that occurred in the storage area of medical invoices and receipts. We did not hear a single comment from the main health authority in this regard.
This health authority is the same authority that choked our livelihood for months under the pretext of containing the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, the rational government, with its head and its members standing by and idle, watched how the health minister steered the crisis.
Despite being our right, we beg to ask the minister – Are you and your team competing with medical science and knowledge of Great Britain, with its unique human and medical research mindsets, or what?
We really hope to hear a “yes” from you, and we hope that Great Britain will send us its patients to receive treatment in our clinics, hospitals and health centers of the “orthopedic” roundabout.
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil