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Healthcare in Kuwait

Hi,

how does the healthcare system work in Kuwait ? Is it efficient ?

What are the main differences between public and private sectors?

Is it recommended to purchase private health insurance in Kuwait?

Thanks in advance for sharing your experience !

Julien

The public health care only covers common colds and other minor injuries and minor ailments.  But I've heard that private insurance can be expensive. I would try the public one for a year and see how it goes. Dental work can be expensive in Kuwait so maybe you should get that done before coming here

Hi lebm1974!

Thanks for your input!

Armand

Healthcare here is quite challenging. If you are dealing with a Private Hospital, you should be ok.. But if you have to deal with the Government hospitals, BEWARE!!!
I am currently here as an American setting up programs with hospitals to educate Nurses. Holding Seminars, Workshops, etc...

I think the Nurses and Healthcare facilities are receptive to additional education but needed someone to assist them.

I am hoping all goes well but again please be careful if you have t deal with the Government hospitals.

Hi,

In order to help expats and soon-to-be expats, we would like to invite you to share your experience on this topic, with updated info on the healthcare system.

Thank you in advance,

Julie
Expat.com Team

Good day Julie

Though a revived thread I will let you Know about my experience. 

We use the Ahmadi Hospital which is a public hospital partly due to the company and convenience.  The good is that they appear to have most of the facilities here. Technology is not a problem and there are a few people who know how to use the tools.  There are a few properly trained doctors and nurses also which help in navigating around the hospital.  My son spent two day in December in the pedatric ward.  The head of the department is decent approachable guy. 

The other doctors and dentist are okay.  But if you do not ask no one says anything to you. There is no/little SERVICE or patient interaction even among other sections. ENGLISH is limited.  Yes there are lots of Fillipina and Indian nurses but english is limited. Even among the doctors.  Technically they may be good but the delivery is POOR.  Think 1970's approach to healthcare.  Patient involvement is limited. 

Some doctors get upset when asking for more informations, why, what, how, alternatives, explain more, etc.

But then again who the doctors and nurses deal with may be an issue. The expectation/understanding is limtied.

Quality of care is way behind UAE or Oman and Thailand.  Kuwait is the only country where I had marks after a blood test.  In other countries my wife questioned me going to a medical but here its how long the mark remains. 

There is no/little patient feedback system. Speaking to the head of pedeatrics at Ahmadi hospital, in the government hospitals there are the facilites and people to use it but do not expect much from the doctors or nurses explaining anything to you.

Kuwait is really the bottom of the barrel in every sense of the word and my honest advise is don't go to Kuwait unless it's an absolute must and don't dream to go without private health insurance. The public sector is 3rd world in fact I have seen better bush clinics in Nigeria. Private is normal pretty much as you'll expect anywhere but more expensive. All over the counter medication is roughly 4 times what you'll pay in Europe.

Healthcare is very poor here in Kuwait.  In the private sector, you will be OK but the price to see the doctor is usually prohibitive (what with the open file, prescribed medications, other miscellaneous such as X-ray, laboratories, etc)especially for people who earns a very low salary.  However, once you go to the government side, be ready for Panadol.  Seems the doctors here are in love with Panadol. A few years ago, I had an accident where my back, particularly the spine, hit the top corner of the stairs and I was immobile for around 20 minutes because of excruciating pain.  I went to see the doctor in one government hospital as I was afraid, you know, it is the spine.  He just asked me the circumstances and he prescribed Panadol with some other meds included.  I was surprised at the simple way of treatment, I mean yes, if I am not working in healthcare, I might have agreed with the treatment.  I am not a doctor but I sure now when the doctor is in a hurry to see patients (quantity not quality).  I am not trying to dictate to him the proper treatment but since I am having numbness in my left arm I was really, really concerned.  So I asked him, "Doctor, will you not even ask for an X-ray"?  To which he replied "Are you a doctor?" I answered "No. But I am working in a hospital in the Quality Department".   To which he promptly ordered an X-ray, where after the results came, changed the prescribed medications and added anti-inflammatory drugs.  As an inquisitive person, I asked him about the numbness in my left arm extending to he hands to which his reply is "if you lose all sensation in that hand, you come back".  It was really funny to hear from a doctor.   Am just curious, but if you are a doctor you must be concerned with your patients.  The "quality" of care provided should not be compromised just because of the "quantity" of patients seen "quota".

What can you expect to pay for private insurance?

If your company (or your husbands) does not provide health insurance, I would stick with the public sector. Private hospitals are notorious for  over-charging patients (extra meds, tests and visits) And I personally believe that doctors in public hospitals are more professional, that being said it isn't fair to generalise, I have private insurance and always select my doctors carefully.

I have had some experience with Kuwait healthcare and will be glad to share. My experience is on the private end however. From co-workers I have heard that public healthcare in Kuwait is elementary.
From a private perspective the best Clinic ( if you do not need to go to a hospital) is the British Clinic in Mangaf. I have been there a couple times and it was never busy. Staff is trained in Asia, speaks excellent English and is courteous.
Of the private hospitals the Dar Al Shifa hospital in Hawalli is outstanding (facebook.com/DarAlShifa) but due to the price I would go to a Clinic first. It has state of the art equipment, very professional staff, spacious waiting areas with coffeeshops, wif-is and TVs throughout and a large pharmacy.
Like any large public facility / space in Kuwait the hospital is staffed and filled with people from all over the world.
I saw a couple Doctors and both spoke excellent English, as well as German , Persian and Italian. The staff was very helpful in arranging and re-arranging appointments and would call me with reminders.
Parking is tricky and the hospital is always busy.

I have not utilized the services of a Dentist but have heard that finding a good Dentist can be challenging. The training varies greatly so it is a must to shop around.

My dear fellow expats,

I would like to share with you my experiences with Kuwait's healthcare system (public and private ... more public though), make a short comparison and conclude with a few remarks. The experiences will be categorized by specialty (i.e. pediatrics, maternity ... etc.).

Ophthalmology:
In the public sector, Al-Bahar center in Shuwaikh's hospital areas is a good option since they specialize in all eyes problems. My father and my son had eye related problems and they were treated there (medication only). In the private sector it's not really value for money since service there tend to be very expensive and you basically get the same level of treatment in about the same time. My choice: Public.

Dermatology:
I personally tried both for the specific reason of comparing the two. In the public sector I was given some of the newest treatments and medications. The appointments are a bit far in between but didn't have a problem of urgency. I was lucky to be seen by one of the most experienced doctors in Salmiya clinic. The treatment was successful. In the private sector, even though I had the luxury of choosing a doctor it didn't really add much since most of the dermatologist I have seen are specialized in cosmetic dermatology. The treatment and medication I received were kind of generic/cosmetic. My choice: Public.

Orthopedics
IMHO, public sector takes the cake on this one hands down. I have been treated in Al-Razi hospital for fractures and an injured rotator cuff. State of the art equipment, the doctors who treated me are very informative and the physiotherapy was effective. My choice: Public.

Maternity
When it comes to service, private sector could be much better (didn't try it), however, when you consider the cost, I think a trade off has to be made. The average cost of prenatal and postnatal care does not exceed 50 KD if I remember well (2 KD stamp only for the maternity hospital :O). In spite of the lack of customer service orientation of the public sector, I praise it for having state of the art equipment and highly experienced staff.

Cancer
My father is a cancer patient and until now we are getting excellent treatment for a very law cost. The most expensive scan we had to make was the OPET (one of few in the middle east) which cost only 140 KD. The rest of the scans (MRI, CT ... etc.) are in the range of 30 KD each. Chemo and other treatments are almost free. However, there is a big catch. Cancer needs immediate action which doesn't often happen in the public sector. So if you need quick action you might consider other options at least for the diagnosis and putting down a treatment plan. This is a choice I hope I never have to make.

In conclusion, I believe that public sector is a good option when you don't care much about the time you spend or the level of courtesy you receive. Private sector on the other hand tends to be like many services you get in Kuwait for which you could pay a very high price with no significant value for money.

I have a private health insurance from my employer and didn't use it much. I continue to go to public sector and I hope I never need to use any.

I had a very bad experience in one of the gov Hosp at Salmiya. My daughter (1 year old ) and I were sick - common cold and fever . The doc prescribed meds and then were asked to collect from the pharmacy counter . The pharmacist gave few meds for me and my baby but didn't explain to us which meds is for me and for my lo. When my husband asked the pharmacist said "use your brain and think). 😐

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