Wednesday, January 14, 2015

No Place for Chronically ill Expats in GCC Countries

Recently Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries have decided to only hire medically fit expatriates to reduce pressure on their health services. A report had shown that nearly 10% of 2 Million workers recruited annually by the countries usually suffer chronic diseases mainly diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, respiratory problems and high or low blood pressure. In a Statement made by Tawfik Khoja who is the General Director of the Gulf Health Ministers Council, he said that recruiting less of these people will make sure that our health facilities are not put under stress.

Tawfik Khoja also said that the foreign workers haven't posed any threat on the Gulf Cooperation Council as yet but it's better to be on the safe side. Investigation and several reports have shown that they have closed nearly eleven authorized medical test centers abroad temporarily and nearly three permanently because of their fake reports and violating regulations. This decision was taken by the whole central committee and not by one individual member. The Gulf Cooperation Council however did approve eighteen medical test centers in countries like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Egypt. These countries provide the largest number of workers to Saudi Arabia and its counter parts every year.

In several medical reports it was found that fourteen workers after arrival in the Kingdom were tested and were found to be medically unfit. As a consequence they were sent back to their respective countries. The basic purpose of establishing medical centers in these countries is to ensure the prevention of infectious diseases within the Gulf States. That is why before they are recruited they have to be medically examined. One should however not have the thought that these tests will help to diagnose diseases like cancer. For such deadliest diseases special tests have to be conducted for which specialized equipment has to be provided. Khoja said that these tests would increase the costs of recruiting a single worker to nearly SR 60,000/-

Tawfik had made a statement to the media that a meeting would be held soon later in the coming month with the Health Ministry Officials to discuss better measures for the recruitment of workers. Certain measures were taken in the past to ensure the health of the people living in Kingdom which had helped to reduce the number of sick and ill workers from 25% a few years ago to only 5% last year. This meeting of the central committee was held in Manama from the 11th to the 13th of November 2014 in which it was decided to reduce the upper limit of violations acted on by a medical rest center before carrying on any punishment against them.

Source: Arab News

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