Kuwait Human Rights Society urges revocation of expat health service fees

Published:  17 Oct at 6 PM
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Tagged: Canada, Citizenship
Kuwait’s Society for Human Rights, (KHRS), is calling for the controversial new expat health service fee to be revoked due to patients quitting necessary medication.

Kuwait’s human rights organisation is urging the government to reverse the new law forcing expats to pay for heathcare services, citing new reports that a large number of patients are giving up on necessary medical treatment as they can’t afford the costs. Recent Kuwait Ministry of Health statistics show a 30 per cent reduction in the number of expat patients attending local clinics. KHRS maintains the introduction of the new charges is certain to adversely affect expats’ health.

However, the Health Ministry is seeing the reduction in patient numbers as a positive move, saying more Kuwaiti nationals are now able to get faster service from local clinics and hospitals rather than enduring long waiting times due to the high number of expats needing treatment. One controversial social media report circulated recently involved an expat who died of a heart attack after being told by a local hospital to ‘come back tomorrow’.

Other disturbing reports include a low-waged expat who, when referred to a hospital for surgery, could not afford an extra x-ray and simply left the facility. Further reports mention expats who’ve not been paid for several months and are unable to afford treatment as a result, as well as patients suffering medical errors being forced to pay for treatments. The KHRS is also citing exclusions of certain patient groups from charges as being against the rules, suggesting poorly thought out implementation of the scheme.

Meanwhile, controversial Kuwaiti MP Safa al Hashem is criticising the emirate’s government for its 20-year estimate on correcting demographic imbalance. Saying the timeframe is unacceptable, she adds it’s possible to do this in four to five years. She’s also hitting out at the Supreme Planning Council’s role, noting reservations over new member appointments of one female and another council member who was re-appointed after decades of service. Al Hashem is a strong supporter of the expat health fee increases, and is also demanding a discussion on fuel price increases, to include fuel coupons for limited income citizens.
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