KUWAIT: Health Minister Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah said the Ministry of Health (MoH) is working on making medical centers examine expatriate workers – namely Africans and Asians – in their respective countries, especially after detecting 1,271 cases of infectious diseases from seven of those countries after laborers arriving in 2017-2018 were re-examined in Kuwait.

Responding to a parliamentary inquiry filed by MP Adel Al-Damkhi concerning licensing centers to examine expats before coming to work in Kuwait, Sheikh Basel said MoH urged Kuwaiti embassies abroad to use the unified GCC e-medical test system as well as re-examine expats prior to granting them residency visas in Kuwait.

Later, MoH clarified in a statement that the cases of infectious diseases mentioned by Sheikh Basel in his response to Damkhi’s inquiry were detected in 2017-2019, and not 2019. The ministry also stressed none of the cases the minister mentioned were still in Kuwait, as those diseases had been detected prior to issuing their residency visas and they were immediately deported.
Sheikh Basel had indicated that MoH plans to adopt new medical tests for those workers and demand medical reports from visitors from countries connected to the e-system, adding that centers violating the conditions will be fined dearly and removed from the lists of accredited centers.

In addition, Sheikh Basel disclosed some classified information on Damkhi’s request, noting that there was a rise in various infectious diseases in 2017 including 838 cases of AIDS, malaria and hepatitis C & B. “We detected 222 tuberculosis, 145 hepatitis and one AIDS case from Bangladesh; 173 TB, 58 malaria, 32 hepatitis C, 26 hepatitis B and eight AIDS cases from India; 52 TB, 29 hepatitis B and 21 hepatitis C cases from the Philippines; 20 TB and two hepatitis B cases from Sri Lanka; nine TB, four hepatitis C, three hepatitis B and one AIDS case from Egypt and finally two TB, one hepatitis B and one hepatitis C case from Pakistan,” he explained.

Degrees’ examined
The Ministry of Education (MoE) is currently scrutinizing the degrees of 13,498 of its employees including 422 citizens and 86 expats holding university degrees from various countries such as Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, UK, the Philippines, Lebanon, Sudan and India, said informed sources. The sources explained that the country from which the degrees of 6,344 employees at MoE headquarters were issued is not recorded in the Civil Service Commission’s (CSC) integrated system. Further, the sources said statistics showed 105 Kuwaiti employees hold PhD degrees.

Over 30 years
Recent statistics issued by the CSC showed 11,000 government employees, including 8,000 Kuwaiti and around 3,000 expats, have been in service for over 30 years. Statistics also showed that 116,000 government employees, including 88,000 citizens, have 10-19 years of experience; 99,000 have less than five years of experience, 82,000 have 5-9 years of experience and 50,000 employees, including 40,000 citizens, have 20-29 years of experience.

NGOs’ activities abroad
Following a large number of applications from non-active NGOs to take part in activities abroad, the Ministry of Social Affairs’ NGOs department set new regulations for NGO members to take part in conferences, lectures and seminars held outside Kuwait, said informed sources, noting that the conditions include limiting the maximum number of participants to two per NGO, that the conference theme is part of the goals of the concerned organization’s establishment, that the society has effective social contributions, is cooperative with the ministry and notifies the ministry at least one month in advance.

By A Saleh