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Kuwait health sector ‘heavily depends’ on expats

Only 30 per cent of doctors and 6 per cent of nurses in the country are Kuwaiti

Gulf News

Manama: Kuwait will be left with serious problems in the health sector if the authorities go ahead with much-anticipated plans to reduce the high number of foreigners working in the country.

“The health ministry simply cannot do away with the expatriates working in the health sector, and that includes doctors, nurses, technicians as well as administrators and accountants and legal experts,” a medical source said, quoted by Kuwaiti daily Al Rai on Monday.

“The issue will have even more dramatic dimensions with the expansion of health facilities or the construction of new ones. There will be great needs for staff and the numbers of Kuwaitis are not enough to fill in the vacancies.”

According to the source, Kuwaitis represent only six per cent of the 22,000 male and female nurses working in the country.

“There is also a vast difference in the number of Kuwaiti doctors and non-Kuwaiti doctors. Up to 70 per cent of the doctors are not Kuwaitis and it would be very difficult to replace them with Kuwaiti nationals in the near future.”

However, a more balanced proportion exists among dentists with 1,400 Kuwaitis among the 3,500 who are working with the Ministry of Health, the source added.

Figures show that 4.3 million people lived in in Kuwait in 2015 with Kuwaitis representing 31.7 per cent of the total.

The figures indicate that Kuwaiti nationals represented 16.9 per cent of the 2.5 million employed people.

Lawmakers have been calling for a dramatic reduction of the numbers of foreigners in a bid to achieve a better balance of the country’s demography.

Indians and Egyptians, mostly unskilled workers in the construction and service sectors, make up the largest communities of expatriates.

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