In Kuwait, A Hospital Will Refuse To Treat Migrants, Foreigners

“We are not supposed to look at their passports — we are supposed to deal with their medical conditions.”

Looks like mistreating migrants is turning out to be a new world trend as the decision of a new Kuwaiti hospital is surely to make migrants laborers feel left out.

Jaber Hospital, a newly constructed hospital that cost 304 million dinar (USD 995 million), says it will only treat citizens of Kuwait but not foreigners.

The discriminatory measure will mean millions of low-paid migrant workers will not have access to the newly built public facility.

Out of Kuwait’s entire population, majority of people are foreigners. Most of these foreigners are Asians or are from other Arab countries. These migrant laborers are usually paid an annual amount of money as health allowance but they still have to pay a hefty amount in form of subsidized fee.

Migrant Laborers

However, some doctors think otherwise.

“[Migrant laborers] were granted their workers’ visa. They deserve to be treated with dignity,” said Dr. Yousef al-Muhanna.

“We are not supposed to look at their passports – we are supposed to deal with their medical conditions,” he added.

Not long ago, hospitals in the Kuwaiti city of Jahra banned foreigners from using non-emergency services. The measures come in wake of Kuwaiti government’s effort to prioritize the rights and well-being of its citizens.

Recently, Kuwait’s parliament also passed a legislation increasing the price of water and electricity. The interesting thing is that the price hike didn’t apply to Kuwaiti nationals – only foreigners and migrants had to pay the increase in amount.

However, this is not first time when laborers in the country have been discriminated against. In 2013, Thekra al-Rashidi, former labor minister, made an announcement to deport 100,000 expatriates each year.

“Many big problems that concern the public are blamed on the expatriates: congested roads, overcrowded hospitals, many areas in which public policy has failed,” said Hind Francis, an analyst.  

In Kuwait, a driving license is not issued until a person has resided in the country for two years. Laborers also have to meet a monthly salary requirement in order to stay in the oil rich emirate.




Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Suhaib Salem 

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