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Thursday , October 29 2020

Virus ‘puts end’ to controversies over medical treatment abroad

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 23: It appears the corona pandemic has finally put at rest the file of Overseas Medical Treatment which has been one of the most controversial issues and has been on and off the agenda of the respective parliaments for discussion from various angles, reports Al-Rai daily. It is known that this file is full of constant controversies, interference and accusations that it opens a door for corruption and waste of public money, especially with the scandals that has affected a number of Kuwaiti foreign medical offices in a number of countries.

The pandemic which shut the country from the outside world for almost eight months like the rest of the world, which is fighting to contain and prevent the spread of the virus, no Kuwaiti was sent abroad for treatment over the past more than six months and the health system has not been affected on one hand or recorded any inefficiencies in the area of providing healthcare for the citizens.

It is a well-known fact that the annual budget for treatment abroad is estimated at hundreds of millions of dinars. In this regard, some observers say that “the cessation of treatment abroad over the past few months has not put a dent in the ability of the Kuwaiti health system to treat its sick people at home without sending them abroad for treatment and this raises many logical questions about the country which has been spending hundreds of millions of dinars over the past years on medical services that are available at present in Kuwait

Some say that the file of treatment abroad overtly or implicitly constituted one of the most important electoral tools for many members of the National Assembly, who the government allegedly rewarded by sending some of those recommended by MPs on medical trips — some of whom were sick and although the treatment was available in Kuwait and others who were not originally ill.’

This issue has importance for many candidates and MPs with the approaching parliamentary elections because this is the best time to tickle the emotions of the voters through the gateway of promises for treatment abroad. The observers say the recent months have proved that all diseases can be treated locally, and that Kuwait is really capable of dispensing with the entire treatment file abroad, and saving hundreds of millions of dinars in developing the health system inside Kuwait, whether by building more hospitals, or using international expertise internally instead of sending patients abroad.

Health sources told the daily the government has saved an estimated 150 million dinars which would have been spent on treatment abroad since this activity was put on hold following the outbreak of the corona pandemic. The same sources said this money will be directed towards settling the financial claims of previous years concerning several institutions, including the ministries of health, oil and defense.” The sources affirmed financial savings and the success of the health system in providing full care to patients who returned from abroad and others constitute an impetus to radically review the policies related to this file and formulate health policies that pave the way for gradually dispensing with treatment abroad.

It’s been over eight months since Kuwait started the fight against coronavirus pandemic, during which it closed the airport for months, imposed a curfew and other strict conditions in various aspects of life, but the most obvious aspect is dispensing with more than six months of “treatment abroad” without it affecting the health system, reports Al-Anba daily. The annual budget for overseas treatment is estimated at hundreds of millions of dinars and the file is considered the subject of constant controversy with its interference amid accusations that it opens door to corruption and wastage of public money, especially with the scandals that affected a number of Kuwaiti foreign offices in several countries.

In this regard, observers considered “the cessation of overseas treatment in the last period and the unaffected health system and plans for treating patients at home raise logical questions about the real need spending hundreds of millions over the years on services that have been present in Kuwait. They noted that recent months have proven all diseases can be treated locally and that Kuwait is really capable of dispensing with the entire treatment file abroad, while saving hundreds of millions of dinars to develop the health system in Kuwait by building more hospitals or using international expertise internally instead of exchange abroad.

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