Medical treatment for needy expats


Al-Madina newspaper

AN Arab expat friend of mine, who is legally working in a modest job in the private sector, told me a painful story he encountered at a government hospital. His wife got sick and he went to the closest government hospital for treatment. He was shocked that the fee to open a medical file for expats at the government hospital now cost SR1,000 instead of SR100.

He had no choice but to take his wife back home in a hope that the sickness will cure itself and waiting to collect enough money for few days to take his wife to a private clinic, which is cheaper than the cost of opening a medical file at that government hospital.

The story of this expat friend, and many others like him, is a humanitarian story and deserve to be reviewed closely. Expats are not alike. There are those who own millions of riyals and there are those with minimum income. Some of them even are reaching the poverty line.

Expats are not like each other when it comes to insurance. Some of them are very lucky because the companies and institutions they work for provide them with a good medical insurance; others are light years away from having a medical card.

Expats with these circumstances are faced with no other choice but to seek treatment at government hospitals. If government hospitals cannot understand their situation and they are living in our land and between us, and cannot be treated as citizens when it comes to medical treatment, then what can they do? Where can they go for treatment? Citizens are not going to government hospitals because of the long appointments, despite the fact that it is free. Low paid expats cannot go to it because they simply cannot afford opening the new ‘medical file’ fee.

We need to remind the health officials here that we are living in the Kingdom of humanity, in which its generosity reaches the entire world. Those who are living in it deserve this generosity. I call on legislators to open the medical file for expats and to treat their sickness in a way that does not exhaust them. I call on providing a medical insurance for each citizen. I also call on providing the same for each expat. There is nothing more important than health and it is the right for all, citizens and expatriates.