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(updated) Kuwait rights body decries bias against expats in health care
October 19, 2015, 3:23 pm
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The Kuwait Society for Human Rights (KSHR) has condemned decisions and statements by Health Ministry officials, saying they suggested discrimination in the services provided.

“Barring foreigners from receiving kidney dialysis treatment and specific drugs and delaying services for the stateless people [Bidoon] in private consultations from morning to the afternoon, in addition to the new Jaber Hospital exclusively for Kuwaitis is a blatant violation of human rights and values,” the society said. “These instances also harm the humanitarian and rights reputation of Kuwait.”

The society said that the decisions and statements violated the spirt of the Kuwait constitution as well as international covenants and agreements.

“The right to health is guaranteed for everyone living in Kuwait. According to Article 25 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.”

The society said that applying the discriminatory decisions would tarnish the bright image of Kuwait as a country that offers humanitarian assistance to other countries while depriving foreigners living in Kuwait from it.

“Such measures will also reinforce a culture of hatred against foreigners in Kuwait, especially as some people fail to assume their responsibilities to provide services and blame foreigners,” the society said. “Unfortunately, such decisions are taken without the proper study of the international laws, agreements and covenants. They indicate a failure by some officials to appreciate the status of Kuwait as a centre for humanitarian action under the leadership of the Amir, and which demands adequacy in making decisions related to human rights,” the society said.

According to Kuwaiti media, expatriates receiving kidney dialysis at public hospitals have been told that starting October 25, the treatment will no longer be free and that they will have to pay 25 dinars per session.

The decision will deeply affect some patients who need to sit for three sessions a week and who will have to pay 300 dinars a month for their treatment, causing a huge and unbearable burden.

Rumours about making the newly built 1,100-bed Jaber Hospital exclusive for the treatment of Kuwaitis have stirred heated debates on social media, prompting several Kuwaitis to describe the decision as racist and egoistic. Those who supported the move argued that limiting the hospital, the largest in the Middle East, to Kuwaitis would end their suffering and pain at crowded public hospitals.

“The expatriates can use the other public hospitals,” one Kuwaiti said.

The final decision about the hospital status has not been made, officials said.

 

Source: Gulf News

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