Living in Kuwait
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).
Primary health care is provided by a network of clinics and polyclinics, which are usually found in community centers, 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
The Ministry clinics open from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm and from 4:00 pm to 11 pm and are closed in the afternoons between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm. The working hours during holidays will be from 7:00 am to 9:00 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 specialized 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.
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, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, 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).
There are 80 poly clinics, 6 general hospitals, 32 specialized hospitals and health centers.
The Ministry of Health has plans for establishing two new hospitals.
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 (see box) 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. The Ministry has lifted the ban on some 80 expensive drugs for expatriates and these medicines are equally prescribed to all patients.