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‘KD 763m collected since 2000 as health insurance fee not utilized’ – Medical products seized from gyms, salons fake, smuggled: MoH

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 29: The country’s treasury has collected KD 763.5 million, which is equal to $2.5 billion, since Health Insurance Law Number 1/1999 for foreigners took effect in 2000, reports Annahar daily quoting sources. Sources said such money has been accumulating for 15 years without investing it, clarifying neither the Cabinet nor the Finance Ministry had a plan or study ways to invest or benefit from the huge sum collected from expatriates who pay fees for health services as per the law.

Sources pointed out if the money was spent on improving health facilities and services, the State of Kuwait would have joined the ranks of European countries in terms of the quality of medical services provided to citizens.

Earlier, a lawmaker asked former minister of finance Mustafa Al-Shamali about the steps taken for the country to benefit from the accumulated funds but no response has been given until now. Meanwhile, Ministry of Health Undersecretary Dr Khalid Al- Sahlawi has affirmed that most medical products and equipment seized from private gyms and ladies salons in the recent inspection campaign in Hawally Governorate were fake, smuggled and those whose origins were unknown.

Al-Sahlawi made the disclosure in a press statement, emphasizing that 70 percent of slimming pills as well as sex or hormone enhancements were contaminated, unregistered and untested. He revealed some of them were hidden inside sachets ready for sale and others were in capsule form for easy consumption, but their contents were unknown.

He urged people who go to gyms and ladies salons to be careful in using drugs, creams, capsules and herbs whose sources are unknown to avoid endangering their lives. He asserted the concerned officials at the Inspection Unit in the ministry are firm in dealing with unscrupulous people who expose lives of others to danger and attempt to tarnish the image of the national health sector. He pointed out the ministry has been coordinating with other relevant ministries and agents to intensify inspections in health clubs, gyms and ladies salons.

In the meantime, Consultant Cardiologist and Head of Cardiology Unit at Sabah Hospital Dr Musa Akbar affirmed that heart diseases are the major cause of deaths in Kuwait and the world at large, reports Al-Seyassah daily. He disclosed that diseases are a major burden on the budgets of many countries as billions of dollars are spent each year fighting ailments. He cautioned against the rise in factors leading to heart diseases in Kuwait and GGC countries, citing hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, smoking and obesity. He noted recent studies conducted in some GCC countries, including Kuwait, affirmed that 45 percent of Kuwaiti society (men and women) have cholesterol in blood, while 50 percent of heart disease patients suffer from high cholesterol.

He urged people (40 years old) to check for heart diseases. He also called on those with history of heart diseases in their family to conduct tests for early detection of the syndrome. He reiterated the importance of awareness campaign on heart and artery diseases, and called for intensifying efforts to curb smoking among secondary school students.

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