KUWAIT: MP Safa Al-Hashem yesterday accused expatriates of being the cause for long lines at hospitals and called to send them to hospitals in Farwaniya and Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh, two of Kuwait’s poorest neighborhoods. Hashem made the remarks when she was commenting on the response of Health Minister Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah to one of her questions on overcrowding at maternity hospitals in the country.
She claimed that overcrowding was because of the large numbers of expatriate women, claiming that some of them come from outside Kuwait on visit visas especially for delivery here to enjoy good and almost free services at public hospitals. “An expatriate woman with her belly 10 meters ahead of her comes just 10 days before birth,” she told the National Assembly. She said that these women are then admitted at public hospitals, given excellent services and then they walk away with their babies “against the payment of just KD 3”.
The health minister said that the ministry is considering raising maternity and birth charges at public hospitals without providing further details about the timeframe, adding three new wards will be added to provide the service. Responding to an inquiry by Hashem about the smuggling of health ministry medicines, the minister stressed that this particular story is old and that he had previously answered this question.
But Hashem then insisted that the standard of maternity hospitals was deteriorating because they have to deal with many expatriate women, and called for allocating good hospitals around Kuwait City, especially the Amiri, Sabah and Jaber hospitals for Kuwaitis only and called for sending expatriate patients to Farwaniya and Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh. Hashem has been very vocal in criticizing expatriates, at one stage calling for taxing them for the air they breathe, and has been strongly supporting a bill to impose a five-percent tax on expat remittances.
During the debate, Minister of Public Works Jenan Bushehri said the government has started paying compensation for damages during the heavy rainfall in winter and has already compensated the owners of 500 vehicles damaged in the floods. Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem said during the session that the Assembly will hold three special sessions next week from Monday through Wednesday, when the Assembly term will come to an end.
MPs debated and approved the budgets for eight government bodies. These were the Social Security Agency, Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, Capital Markets Authority, Public Housing Authority, National Fund for Small and Medium Enterprises, Kuwait Central Bank, Direct Investment Promotion Authority and Kuwait News Agency.
By A Saleh