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MoH defends blood charges as ‘symbolic’

By B Izzak


KUWAIT: The ministry of health said on Thursday charges imposed by the ministry on expats for blood transfusions are “symbolic” compared to countries of the region and constitute the actual cost of services and technical and administrative procedures of blood transfusion and preservation. It added the fees also aim to rationalize the use of blood.

Responding to strong criticism by Kuwaiti political movements, rights bodies and candidates, the ministry said several cases are exempted from the fees, especially emergency cases, children, cancer patients and others. The ministry has imposed fees of KD 20 per blood unit on expat residents and KD 40 on visitors. It also hiked charges for 37 lab tests.

The committee for studying the prices of services provided by the blood bank and laboratory tests at the health ministry said in a press release the fees are for administrative procedures such as the preservation and transfer of blood bags and laboratory tests, adding patients are exempt from fees when there is a donor, which is an incentive to urge the importance of donation.

The ministry added the fees came after about a year and a half of study through the committee composed of specialists, which is not the goal of the ministry in itself as much as the achievement of “noble” goals to realize the value of blood donation. It stressed that blood is “not a commodity for sale or purchase” as people’s lives depend on it, pointing out that promoting community solidarity, encouraging donations and maintaining strategic blood stocks represent the “lofty” goals pursued by the ministry.

The ministry pointed out this decision will contribute significantly to the rationalization of blood transfusion services and derivatives towards actual cases based on medical priority, adding the ministry reviews medical services fees periodically and takes the necessary measures as required by public interest to improve the quality of medical services provided.

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