Kuwait spends $ 350m to treat citizens abroad


Maasouma Al Mubarak told parliament during a special debate that hundreds of Kuwaiti patients were sent for treatment to Britain, the United States, Germany and France, as well as a number of Arab countries.


She acknowledged however that the cost sharply rose last year while a number of MPs alleged that many citizens were dispatched in order to buy their support for pro-government candidates in the June general elections.


The debate was called by opposition MPs who wanted checks to be applied to the service since the Gulf state offers free medical care to its citizens at home, and in a bid to stop misuse of public funds.


The issue was one of the main topics for which former health minister and ruling family member Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah al-Sabah was grilled by MPs in February and faced a vote of no-confidence.


The government resigned on March 4 in a bid to prevent the minister from being voted out of office, but he was eventually left out in the new line-up.


Mubarak said the government recently decided to limit the service only to critical conditions of heart, cancer, paediatrics and grave injuries.


Kuwait, which sits on 10 percent of global oil reserves, has a native population of just one million and is believed to have assets worth 200 billion dollars due to high oil prices.

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