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Health situation goes astray – Lack of coordination in govt bodies

THE State of Kuwait did not witness the coronavirus pandemic alone, rather the whole world, but the difference between Kuwait and other countries lies in the size and nature of challenges and the benefit of the lessons learned from this ongoing global crisis,” columnist Khaled Al-Tarrah wrote for Al-Qabas daily.

Khaled Al-Tarrah

Soon, inconsistency crept into official statements and decisions within the government, until the political scene seemed to have more than one government. Attractiveness and competition dominated, not cooperation between the ministries of the Interior, Commerce and Health. The Interior and Commerce ministries were singled out separately because there seemed to be no harmony with the Health Ministry, which negatively affected the public health scene and the government as well.

The government failed a test that could have been dealt with simply and quickly and the government as a whole could benefit from it. The government failed to get hold of the health situation because of excessive confidence in government-government mutual understanding and cooperation, not according to the jurisdiction of each minister, but according to the needs and requirements of the health issues.

As a result of all of this, the health decision was disturbed by the uniqueness of the ministries of Commerce and Interior in the decision on medical specialization, as well as the emergence of political elements that negatively affected the containment of health complications in its early stages, while becoming the simplest preventive priorities, such as importing facemasks where such a move which occurred in the wake of rumors indicating that the decision to import these masks was tainted by commercial interests.

Among the reports attributed to the Minister of Commerce, Khaled Al-Roudhan, he retracted the decision to import masks after frequent reports about commercial interests, so the minister decided to revoke the import decision, leaving the decision to the Ministry of Health after a time drain on a preventive account that is not officially unjustified.

The government’s frustration was reflected in the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science (KFAS) donation of 5 million dinars out of a total of 10 million dinars for the purpose of providing urgent medical supplies which happened in the absence of government leadership in setting standards to the point of import and shipment as well, which led to the emergence of KFAS as a government agency and not a private body particularly in terms of race for recording a journalistic scoop in favor of KFAS although the relevant shipment arrived in the country on a Kuwait military aircraft.

The matter did not stop there. Rather, the health decision was subjected to the uniqueness of the security decision in determining the periods and nature of the quarantine, that is, between partial or total, and which came first or which was the shortest.

Of course, this does not mean that the Ministry of Health succeeded in its decisions, as the political and security aspect overshadowed the health decision in submitting security reports against what was reported by a number of citizens regarding the value of one of the face masks contracts, while it later proved that the information was correct and a decision to cancel the contract was issued after the competent authorities began investigations with a Kuwaiti citizen.

Nutritionally, the randomness of the decisions of the Ministry of Commerce to restrict shopping in cooperative societies led to negative results, and pressed citizens and cooperative societies as well, besides casualties among volunteers and workers in cooperative societies, while retail markets were deprived of the direct shopping decision. However, this happened although the other retail markets which were banned from the direct marketing.

Such being the case, it is unfortunate that the people are always the first affected, and the government is the last beneficiary.

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