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MP queries expat health tests

Murqab in Kuwait City spangles with its urban renaissance and its breathtaking landmarks. (KUNA — Mustafa Al-Bader)
Murqab in Kuwait City spangles with its urban renaissance and its breathtaking landmarks. (KUNA — Mustafa Al-Bader)

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 25: MP Khalil Abdullah has forwarded parliamentary queries to the Minister of Health Dr Ali Al-Obeidi concerning medical tests for expatriate laborers working in the country.

Abdullah has sought clarification on the medical tests for expatriates who enter the country for the first time. He wants to know the role of the Ports Health and the Border Department, the mechanism and procedures in conducting medical examinations to give a foreigner medically ‘FIT’ certificate.

He also wants to know how much time is allowed for an expatriate to stay in Kuwait until completion of the procedures and necessary tests. He wants to know if the migrant worker before arriving in the country conducts medical tests through health centers accredited by the Kuwait’s Ministry of Health and if all countries conduct such tests or if there are any exemptions and if so the names of the countries. He asked what are the procedures and mechanisms followed by the Ministry of Health to recognize foreign health centers.

He also asked if workers are examined as per the procedures laid down by the government for a worker arriving in the country for the first time. He queried what happens if the foreign health offices or centers accredited by the Ministry of Health of Kuwait and the Kuwaiti embassy in countries from where Kuwait imports labor issue ‘FIT’ health certificates but after arriving in the country, the person is found ‘UNFIT’. He asked for clarification on this issue He has also asked for a list of nationalities which are periodically tested in Kuwait each time the residence permit is renewed. He also wants to know if so, why it is not applicable to all nationalities.

What are the tests carried out by the Ministry of Health at the Health Ports and Borders Department? For example, are there any tests for infectious diseases that are not tested due to lack of laboratory devices that reveal such diseases? If the answer is yes please specify the infectious diseases that are not examined and the reasons for that?

How many medical tests were carried out on expatriate workers for the first time and how many were found to be infected from 2012 until the date of this query with a detailed list for each year separately for the nationalities and types of discovered diseases? Why is there no mechanism for visitors to the country, particularly those who arrive either on commercial, visit or family visas to be tested?

There are also cases of expats who arrive on visit visas and these visas are transferred to temporary or permanent residence without undergoing medical tests. He wants to know if these persons are carrier of infectious diseases?

Why not coordinate with the Ministry of Interior before stamping the residence permit and force such workers to undergo medical tests on the same lines as for those who enter the country for the first time.

How will we protect the citizens and residents in such cases, he asked. He asked the minister, “What are the measures taken by the Ministry of Health in the event of a serious infectious disease in neighboring countries or in the rest of the world to protect the citizens and residents in Kuwait?”

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Ali Al- Ghanim praised the role of the Ministry of Interior to protect the mosques and Husseiniyas during the month of Muharram.

In a statement, Al-Ghanim said, “We salute and highly appreciate the tremendous and extraordinary efforts exerted by the Interior Ministry men led by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Mohammed Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah to enable the citizens to practice their faith in safety and security.” He added, the loyal efforts exerted by the securitymen and cooperation of mosques owners and Husseiniyas and their commitment to the security instructions and guidance frustrated those who may have been planning to disrupt and undermine stability and security of Kuwait.

Al-Ghanim prayed to the Lord Almighty to protect Kuwait and its people from all harm under the leadership and patronage of His Highness the Amir and His Highness the Crown Prince. In the same context, Secretary of the National Assembly MP Adel Al-Kharafi praised the Interior Ministry and its efforts to provide security to the homeland and the citizens, especially in the protection of places of worship.

He stressed the directives of His Highness the Amir — may God protect him — to all officials in the state is the evidence of his keenness to offer comfort, security and care for his loyal citizens. He said, “We appreciate the positions of Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khalid for laying emphasis on the safety of the citizens and workflow through his field inspections during the past few days.” Al-Kharafi also thanked all sectors of the Ministry of the Interior and its loyal securitymen for strict application of laws to ensure security of the homeland and the citizens. He said that what they are doing is appreciated and respected by all people of Kuwait.

By Abubakar A. Ibrahim Arab Times Staff

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