By A Saleh

KUWAIT: Chairman of the Kuwaiti Domestic Helper Agencies Union Khaled Al-Dakhnan said 85 percent of agencies have no applications because they mainly rely on recruiting domestic helpers from the Philippines, which is currently suspended in the aftermath of the killing of a Filipina maid by her sponsor. “The agencies are currently in a crisis that may lead to closing most of them if the suspension continues for over two months,” he warned.

Dakhnan added that most agencies are completely empty except for a few with Sri Lankan helpers aged over 40, which is dissatisfactory to some citizens, who prefer younger maids. “The reason behind the aged Sri Lankan helpers is that most neighboring countries pay higher commissions to domestic helper agencies in Sri Lanka, and thus they send them all the younger ones,” he underlined.

Dakhnan urged the foreign ministry to immediately act and resolve the problem with relevant authorities in the Philippines. “This crisis is the result of mainly depending on one country in supplying domestic helpers despite the union’s repeated calls to bringing them from more countries,” he elaborated.

Responding to a question about current fees, Dakhnan said that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry had recently issued a decision fixing the maximum fees at KD 990, which he believes will hinder developing the sector as many exporting countries have been increasing the recruitment rates of well-trained helpers.

Private hospitals

Kuwait Municipality rejected the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) request to allocate over 15 sites to build private hospitals, said informed sources, noting that MoH requested holding a meeting with Municipality Minister Waleed Al-Jassem and head of the Municipal Council Osama Al-Otaibi to discuss the reasons for the rejection. “Many investors have applied to build private hospitals and have been officially licensed by MoH to help develop healthcare services on the one hand and ease the burden on public hospitals on the other,” the sources explained.

Further, the sources said the matter might be referred to the Cabinet unless the municipality provides the needed sites within three months. Notably, MoH had earlier asked the municipality to list the plots allocated for building private hospitals and those allocated for MoH so that it could distribute them to private hospitals.