I, and of course the others, receive messages from people asking for material assistance to non-Kuwaiti patients, often children or poor people, who are suffering from incurable diseases and cannot afford the high cost of treatment, especially after the recent decision of the Ministry of Health to stop paying for the treatment of non-Kuwaitis in government hospitals.
A majority of these messages may be real but due to lack of transparency the responses have not been forthcoming. To whom the donation is collected while the patient is a small child? How the donation is collected and what is the amount needed? How can one know that the requested amount will help the cause and no more money is needed? There are several other questions that often do not have adequate answers.
Actually, the ideal solution in such circumstances is to donate directly into the fund that helps patients. Then the officials in charge can be informed that the particular sum of money that has been donated is for a specific individual. However, what guarantee is there that the donated money will be spent on the specific sick child, for example, especially if the person in charge discovers that the child does not belong to the sect, religion or doctrine that the society is involved in helping the needy sick children.
This is because it is known the society assists only its affiliates. And what about the society’s neglect in protecting the money of the donors since one ‘honest’ Egyptian accountant is known to have systematically embezzled equivalent of $4 million from the bank account of the society over four years, while none of the society’s board members who are entrusted with the money, were able to stop the man from embezzling the money, given the size of the money.
The suspect has already been sentenced to a prison term and ordered to pay what has been embezzled by him. The society promised to bring him back from a sisterly Gulf country, but this has not happened in spite of us challenging the board members to prove their seriousness because we doubt there are others who are covering his misdeeds for fear of being discovered.
Of course, we do not forget the involvement of the society in a scandal which allows influential personalities, including a MP to open cafés in hospitals, clinics and medical centers. The latter had admitted to the ‘charge’ and pledged to end his lucrative contracts with the society but we do not know what happened next.
With so many non-Kuwaitis living and working, and with the high cost of treatment for an uninsured resident, Kuwait urgently needs an association to help resident patients and be truly neutral, that does not discriminate between a people, doctrine, religion or sect.
Therefore, either establish a new association, or the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor must force the National Assembly to ensure the society works in total transparency and appoint members from outside the society so that it can offer services to all those in need and not to one category.
To be more positive, I am announcing my willingness to work with others to apply for the establishment of a new real Patient Aid Society. I also announce my readiness to donate 50,000 dinars and I will not ask for any position for myself. The field is open to those who wish to participate in the establishment of this society.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf