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According to the Arab Times, a proposal has been “submitted by the Ministry of Health to offer medical services at the Jaber Al-Ahmad Hospital exceptionally for Kuwaitis and not expatriates living in this country.”
According to MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan, the proposal “is inhuman and immoral.” Moreover, “he said if this proposal is necessary then the ministry must provide free healthcare services for citizens and collect small fees from non-citizens to eliminate the negative poor healthcare as a result of a defect in the demographic structure of the country” (Arab Times, Oct 17, 2015).
The issue of reserving certain hospitals exceptionally for Kuwaitis and not expatriates underline the need to improve health services in Kuwait.
In addition to the need for appointing skilled doctors and competent nursing staff, we also need to improve the basic health insurance offered to residents. For example, the insurance fees plus the KD 1 stamp required for an expat to visit a doctor are ineffective mechanisms to improve our health services.
Why not for example, provide more effective health insurance plans to our expatriate friends and partners that are more up to date, inclusive and provide more suitable health services.
In other words, why not improve the current health insurance services to allow residents to receive health services at private hospitals and clinics.
The current health insurance does not seem to cover the actual expenses of medical treatment, medicine received at the Ministry of Health’s facilities.
Furthermore, inviting our private sector to contribute to the improvement of health services is a step in the right direction. For example, many Kuwaiti citizens obtain health insurance from private insurance companies. They use such insurance plans to receive treatment at private hospitals and clinics. Why not then ask employers to provide health services for their resident employees, instead of using the current insurance plans offered by the government?
As a Kuwaiti citizen, I have to obtain on my own a health insurance plan to cover my medical expenses abroad. Such health insurance ranges from basic plans to a more complete insurance coverage. The government can demand from major corporate employers in Kuwait to provide their resident employees with more effective health insurance in addition to the current basic insurance they receive.
Moreover, finding a lasting solution to the problem of providing more effective health services to our expatriate friends and partners will contribute to the improvement of our economy.
Kuwait is already famous around the world for its generosity in helping those in need. We can also extend our generosity to hundreds of thousands of expatriates who are working very hard in helping build Kuwait and improving its economy.
Those who work and live in Kuwait contribute to enriching our local culture; improve our administrative, educational and public services sectors. Why not then help those who share with us as Kuwaitis the love of a country that they consider as their second home.
By Khaled Aljenfawi