By Ricky Laxa
Staff Writer

The Embassy of the Philippines in Kuwait Assistance to Nationals Unit Medical Response Team (ATNU-MRT), formed in 2018 provides possible assistance required by more than 230,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from medical referrals to hospitals and clinics with constant repatriation of medical patients to Philippines when necessary. In a brief interview with Mr. Luiz Carlos Osorio, Embassy official and member of the MRT highlighted its functions and services for the Filipinos in Kuwait.

The Times Kuwait (TTK): What were the common cases have you encountered so far?
Osorio: The MRT have encountered medical conditions like stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, fractured body parts, psychiatric cases and COVID-19 among others.

TTK: What has been the most difficult type of cases resolved and repatriated?
Osorio: Stretcher cases are the most difficult type of medical cases because of the logistical requirements involved such as coordination witH the airline company, doctors, hospitals to obtain a fit to travel approval. Requirements on whether the patient must travel with a doctor, nurse or a companion to have to be considered. Coordination too with other government agencies in the Philippines such as OWWA, DOH and now DMW must also be taken into consideration. In addition, we also have medical equipment such as oxygen tanks or portable ventilator if needed necessary.

TTK: How does and OFW go through the process and apply for the service?
Osorio: Medical cases varies so the ATNU-MRT evaluates the documents such as medical report, passport, civil id. The team also verifies whether the patients I documented or undocumented. If documented and employed in company, they are referred to the medical counter part DMW (POLO -OWWA) which evaluates the case for the necessary assistance. However, for undocumented patients, the MRT verifies if pending cases are existent such as absconding, travel ban due to unpaid loans, residence violations then they are referred to the ATNU Such assistance is done in coordination with Kuwait authorities such as the CID and Talha Deportation center.

TTK: Who are the OFWs not covered by the service?
Osorio: As much as possible, we do not want to put limitations or boundaries, however, there are certain processes at the Embassy and Kuwait government that has to coincide. Collaboration also with DMW and country’s hospitals is essential, as long as it favors the OFW and the patient is allowed and can return back to Philippines then we have to forge ahead.

TTK: How many have you repatriated so far?
Osorio: Since 2018, it’s safe to say that the ATNU-MRT have provided assistance to thousands of Filipinos in Kuwait with various medical conditions some were terminally ill.

TTK: How many more cases are there at present?
Osorio: There are only handful at the moment such include stroke, acute appendicitis and are bound to be repatriated soonest we also have three ICU cases still being monitored and a stretcher patient.

TTK: A brief message to the OFWs
Osorio: To all Filipinos in Kuwait, On behalf of the Charge d’ Affaires, a.i. Hon. Jose Cabrera III and all the officers and staff of the Philippine Embassy, we urge everyone to live healthy, go for regular check up and avoid eating in excess. Note that the Philippine Embassy will always be here for your safety and welfare.

The ATNU-MRT was an initiative by former Ambassador H.E. Mohammad Noordin Pendosina Lomondot, created in 2018 to address and focus on various medical concerns of Filipinos in Kuwait. With Mr. Luiz Ososrio is Ms. Milva Sauti Akilan who is also an officer and member of the ATNU -MRT.

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