Sept. 2014


Comprehensive health services are available in Kuwait from both public and private health care providers. These services are regulated by the Ministry of Public Health (MPH).
Public Clinics
Primary health care is provided by a network of clinics and polyclinics, which are usually found in community centres, often near the local co-op supermarket. These clinics deal with preliminary examinations and routine matters and, where necessary, patients are referred to hospital specialists.

Clinics Timing & Charges
As From July 2001 the Ministry clinics will be open from 7:00 am to2:00 pm and from 4:00 pm to 11 pm and will be closed in the afternoons between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm.
Expatriates, bedouns (stateless persons), and children of Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis have to pay KD 1 and KD 2 for clinics and hospitals if they have the health insurance. Without health insurance they will have to pay KD 5 and KD 10.
Insurance coverage exempts expatriates from paying daily inpatient charges when they receive medical treatment in hospitals, in addition to exemption from charges of medical operations, pharmaceuticals, and laboratory analysis and X-ray. They also receive 50% subsidy on specialised tests and analysis such as CT-Scan, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Sonar and hormonal analysis.
Surgeries are held in the mornings (8am to 1pm) and evenings (4pm to 7pm). Home visits are not available under the public health system.

Public Hospitals
Kuwait is divided into five Health Regions. Each region has a general hospital, the Amiri Hospital in Kuwait City, Jahra Hospital in Jahra, Farwaniyah Hospital in Farwaniyah, Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital in Jabriya, and Adan Hospital in Reqqa (about 5km from Fahaheel). Each general hospital provides a full outpatients service and 24-hour emergency service.
The country also has a comprehensive range of specialist hospitals, covering chest and heart diseases, neurosurgery, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, burns, cancers, radiology, nephrology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology, physiotherapy, and psychiatry. Most of these are concentrated in an area stretching along or near to Gamal Abdul Nasser Street in west Shuwaikh (going towards Sulaibikhat).
Under its 4-year plan to 2003, the MPH will be establishing new health centres in Qurain and Sabahiya, and expanding the psychiatric hospital. New specialist centres will be set up with funds donated by the private sector, including the Khaled Al-Nafisi Renal Dialysis Centre and a Paediatric Centre (sponsored by NBK), both in Sabah Hospital, as well as new Ear, Nose and Throat Centre (sponsored by MTC).

Hospital Visiting Hours
Hospital visiting hours vary and are normally restricted to the afternoon. The number of visitors to a patient allowed during visiting hours is not usually limited, though sometimes when things get extremely crowded only two visitors at a time are allowed in together.

Health Care Charges
Kuwaitis receive medical services at government clinics and hospitals free of charge. Before 1994 expatriates were entitled to free medical services but now they must pay for certain procedures as well as prosthetic items.
Neither Kuwaitis nor expatriates are charged for medications obtained from pharmacies in public hospitals and clinics on prescription from a hospital doctor, provided the patient’s civil ID card number is shown on the prescription. However a doctor may no longer provide about 80 expensive drugs for expatriates, though an expatriate patient can always ask the doctor for a prescription and then buy the medicine himself.

From 10th April, 2000 health insurance was made mandatory for expatriates. No residence is renewed unless the premium for health insurance is paid and the renewal period is also linked to the period of health insurance coverage (details covered in Chapter – 3). Expatriates holding health insurance from local private insurance companies will be allowed to renew their residence for the period of validity of the insurance. However, for holders of private insurance, the Ministry will charge KD 4 for each visit to health clinic besides the one dinar charge. They will also have to pay for medicine, laboratory tests and radiology scans. Visit to the outpatient clinic will cost KD 6, stay at public hospital KD 10 per day, KD 80 per day at an intensive care unit and KD 5 per day for stay at a psychiatric hospital. Expatriates covered by private insurance companies will also have to pay KD 10 per visit to a birth registration clinic. The charge for normal delivery is KD 200 inclusive of a three day stay at a hospital. Any overstay will cost KD.10 per day.

Some of the primary care polyclinics include dental units. There are also six public dental clinics in the country. The main one is behind the Amiri Hospital in Sharq. Under the MPH’s 4-year plan to 2003, new dental clinics are to be established at Jahra and Farwaniya.
Though Kuwaitis are entitled to a full range of services, the range of dental procedures available to expatriates is restricted to cleaning, scaling, and root canal and tooth extraction. To avail of special dental services, such as having a permanent bridge or crown installed, expatriates must attend a private dental clinic at their own expense.

Despite the excellent comprehensive services provided by the public health service, private hospitals and clinics thrive in Kuwait. The MPH regulates standards and the fees they may charge. The private hospitals and clinics have their own pharmacies. Most of them are general hospitals with some specialist departments. Some have limited equipment, such as ICUs, or specialists and refer patients to government hospitals for special procedures.
Private clinics are usually staffed by doctors of a particular speciality. There are several private dentists and dental clinics providing services to international standards. Orthodontics are only available to expatriates through these dentists and clinics.
The Ministry of Health has approved the applications of 35 private companies to set up private hospitals in Kuwait. A decision is also issued allowing cooperative societies, private hospitals and Kuwaiti doctors to open private clinics for general practice in residential areas.
Private Medical Insurance
Medical insurance, from companies such as Expacare, BUPA and ARIG, QIC, ALLIANZE, can be bought in Kuwait. Local group insurance often requires a minimum of 15 persons, with an annual premium of about KD75 per person for a cover of KD5,000 for both inpatient and outpatient treatment with an excess of 20%. For individuals there are some local medical insurance schemes (about KD125 per year) but the cover provided, the exclusions and age limits sometimes leave a lot to be desired.

All areas have pharmacies. Some of the smaller pharmacies do not stock a full range of medicines. But in each major area — Kuwait City, Hawalli&Nugra, Salmiya&Rumaithiya, Fahaheel&Ahmadi, Kheitan&Farwaniyah — at least one major pharmacy stays open all night. These late night openings are rotated, and the particular pharmacy, its opening night and telephone number are shown daily in the newspapers.
Requirements for prescriptions are no less stringent than in Europe and North America. Though the contraceptive pill is available over-the-counter, many items freely available in Europe and the USA require a prescription in Kuwait, and indeed tranquillizers may only be prescribed by consultants with a special prescription. The prices of all medicines are fixed by the MPH and all pharmacies must, by law, charge the same prices.

All the public hospitals have maternity wards.
The public Al-Sabah Maternity Hospital, located just off Gamal Abdul Nasser Street in west Shuwaikh, provides a comprehensive range of antenatal, delivery and postnatal care and is probably one of the best maternity hospitals in the world. Al-Sabah Maternity is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including more than a hundred ICUs, and a highly trained and dedicated indigenous and expatriate staff.
The private hospitals also offer maternity care. All hospitals require sight of a couple’s marriage certificate for their records.

The big white building housing the blood bank (tel: 533 9511) is situated in front of Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital in Jabriya near to the 4th Ring Road flyover at the end of Tunis Street. Equipped with the latest technology, it supplies blood to local public and private hospitals.
Donors are always welcome, and may receive a small fee in appreciation. Relatives of those undergoing operations are required to make donations to conserve supplies.

Kuwait does not suffer from a lack of opticians. Sight tests are usually free and prices for prescription lens fairly reasonable. Common corrective lens are available from stock and new glasses can be delivered within 48 hours. Many of the opticians have their own workshops for grinding lenses and persons with complicated prescriptions no longer have to wait several weeks for lens to arrive from overseas.
There are many top surgeons in the country specialising in cataract removal and corrective vision procedures.

When an expatriate dies his or her embassy should be advised without delay. The police should also be notified. Formal identification of the body is made by next of kin, the deceased’s sponsor or company representative.
The body should be taken to a coroner’s office. These are attached to the mortuaries in public hospitals. The coroner will undertake a postmortem examination and establish the cause of death. The postmortem will include a full autopsy where the corpse is that of a foreigner, or death has resulted from an accident, or there is a suggestion of foul play. A death report is issued by the coroner, which must be taken to the Central Registry for Births & Deaths to have a death certificate issued. There is no charge for the death certificate.
Once the death certificate has been issued, burial is immediate unless the corpse is required as an exhibit in a court case. Burial may take place in a municipal graveyard. There are also several expatriate graveyards in Kuwait. Burials are free. Cremation is not allowed.
If the corpse needs to be repatriated to the deceased’s country of origin, this is best left to a major forwarding agent who can handle all the formalities. A properly lined coffin which will preserve the body during the voyage costs from KD250 upwards. The postmortem report and the death certificate attested by both the Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs, as well as a police clearance certificate, are required to enable the body to leave Kuwait.
The deceased’s passport will need to be handed over to his or her embassy for cancellation. The embassy may also issue a death certificate based on the Kuwaiti death certificate, autopsy report and police report, which may be required by the deceased insurers.

As the rules are changing very often, please check with the officials for latest rules and procedures.