Kuwait’s Ministry of Health has approved a decision to double birth delivery fees for migrant women who are covered under the national health insurance scheme from 50 KD to 100 KD. The cost of C-section deliveries has also risen.
The new decision also increases the fee for maternity hospital stays. Previously ordinary birth delivery room fees were 10 KD per extra day, with the first three days free of charge. The new decision increases the fees to 50 KD per day for ordinary rooms and 100 KD per day for private rooms, for migrant women only.
This decision follows relentless pressures by some Kuwaiti MPs led by Safa Al Hashem, who blame migrants for delays in Kuwaiti’s access to public medical services.
During the National Assembly in June this year, Al Hashem made an unfounded claim that pregnant migrant women travel to Kuwait just to give birth as they only pay “peanuts.”
“The migrants [women] visit Kuwait with 10 metre belly in front of them, she stays in Kuwait for a week and she goes to Kuwaiti maternity hospitals, she gives birth, she's fed and taken care of, and she and her baby then end up paying peanuts, 3 KD to 20 KD like that, the newborn with his vaccines, Hepatitis etc and this all comes with a simple insurance. She occupied the space, she used the hospital and medical staff ... medicines, care, and free milk - aren't these all fees [ that should be charged]?"
These claims are untrue; A 2018 Ministerial Decree issued by Kuwait's Health Minister stipulates the cost for natural birth delivery is KD 400 for women on visit visas. According to data from Kuwait's department of immigration, the number of women who travel to Kuwait to give birth on visit visas is in fact very few because of the high cost.
Following the latest decision, Al-Hashem thanked the Health Minister for “listening and accepting the ideas that she came up with, whether suggestions or laws related to applying fees on expats.”
In April this year, the Ministry of Health increased the fees for expats receiving treatment in accident departments of public hospitals to from 5 KD to 10 KD. Health Minister Dr. Basil Al-Sabah said that the measure aims to ease congestion at public hospitals and add seven million KD to government coffers.