Decrease in expat visits to govt health centers

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KUWAIT CITY, Feb 20: According to health sources, preliminary estimates indicate a decrease in the rate of expatriates visiting health centers by 20 to 25 percent since the imposition of fees for dispensing medicines from December 18 at KD 5 for health centers and hospital casualty departments, and KD 10 for outpatient clinics, reports Al-Rai daily. According to informed sources, the estimates are based on a comparison between the current numbers recorded between December 19, 2022 and early February 2023, and the official statistics for the year 2020 when visits by non-Kuwaitis to casualty clinics in hospitals reached 975,553 in total.

The number of visits may decrease by about 300,000 by the end of this year.

Regarding the outpatient visits in general and specialized hospitals, the sources said, “Visits by expatriates amounted to 701,156, according to 2020 statistics. It is likely that their number will decrease by a percentage similar to the decrease in visits to casualty departments.

Outpatient clinic visits are generally lesser than visits to casualty departments. Therefore, the rate of decrease may be higher than visiting casualty departments by the end of this year.”

Regarding visits to clinics, the sources expected a decrease of 25 to 30 percent.

In a related context, the sources revealed that the fees imposed to obtain medicines led about 30 to 40 percent of the expatriates, according to preliminary estimates, to go to the private sector pharmacies to buy their prescriptions. However, about 60 percent or more expatriates still get medicines from pharmacies of government health facilities, according to the sources, because the medicines dispensed to them equal or exceed the value of the fees they pay.

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