This week, the Health Assurance Hospitals Company (Dhaman) celebrated the start of construction of the company's second hospital in Jahra governorate in a ceremony held under the patronage of Health Minister Sheikh Dr Basel Al-Sabah and other officials. In 2017, Dhaman began work on its first hospital in Ahmadi governorate, and the two hospitals are expected to be ready in 2020.
There is no doubt that the Dhaman project will ease the pressure on health ministry facilities and reduce the congestion and long waiting periods that we all experience, whether citizens or expats. The overcrowding and distant appointments have a negative impact on everyone without doubt, although waiting for two more years is yet another delay. But it's better than nothing.
The groundbreaking ceremony of Dhaman's second hospital in Jahra coincides with the preparatory works of Dhaman's primary healthcare centers in Farwaniya, Hawally and Dajeej, which are expected to start welcoming patients soon. This includes the implementation and transfer of expats from the current health ministry facilities to Dhaman.
According to reports, the Dhaman Hospital in Jahra will offer secondary healthcare services with a capacity of 300 beds and 11 operating rooms, in addition to trauma and rehab centers, diagnostic centers, delivery rooms and accident and emergency services.
Dr Ahmad Mohammed Al-Saleh, Dhaman CEO and Board Member, said: "We are set to provide beneficiaries with smart healthcare services, and have also formed strategic partnerships in the medical field to ensure meeting world-class health standards." This is indeed a good vision and it's about time, because people have suffered enough.
Last year, some rumors circulated among expats in Kuwait about a possible increase in health insurance fees to KD 130 from early next year, but Dr Ahmed denied the rumors and said it is impossible to increase the insurance fees before inaugurating the Dhaman hospitals in 2020.
Estimates about the ideal insurance fees for individuals are still modest because they revolve around numbers and not the actual needs of individuals. I know the government is now reviewing a new contract for the "Afia" insurance scheme for retired citizens. It should be renewed by April and improved and revised thoroughly.
I hope the expatriates' new healthcare system through Dhaman will take into consideration their needs and the diseases they suffer from, as well as the health problems they face. Their companies must also pay the health insurance fees on their behalf. There should be strictness in following up this matter so that the fees are not taken from expatriate employees. I think it's a good step by the MoH to finally decide to put an end to the long suffering of people.
By Muna Al-Fuzai