Brief History of the Health Care System
Kuwait achievements are so far relatively comparable to average European standards of health and health care. This high level of health status and good standards and accessible health care services was achieved through the generous welfare system and education attainments developed since independence in 1961.
In the 1950s, the government introduced a comprehensive health care system offering free services to the entire population. Free health care was so extensive that it even included veterinary medicine. Expenditures on health ranked third in the national budget, after public works and education. As with education, the system relied heavily on foreigners. Most of the physicians were foreigners, particularly Egyptians. Critics charged the designers of the system with paying undue attention to acquiring the most modern and expensive medical equipment, without regard to the country's health priorities, and favoring treatment over prevention. Nonetheless, improvements in available health care and in public health were dramatic. The number of doctors grew in 1988. The doctor-to-patient ratio improved from one to 1,200 to one to 600. Infant and child mortality rates dropped dramatically; in 1990 the infant mortality rate was fifteen per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy increased ten years in the post independence years, putting Kuwait at a level comparable to most industrialized countries. In 1990 life expectancy for males was seventy-two years and for females seventy-six years.
The Ministry of Health (MOH), located in the Capital region is responsible for planning, financing, resource allocation, regulation, monitoring and evaluation as well as health care service delivery. The Ministry of Health is the third largest public-sector employer after the ministries of education and interior. During the Iraqi invasion, most medical facilities were devastated and reduced to shambles. One of the Government's primary tasks after liberation was to bring health care system back on rails in the shortest possible time.
The Ministry of Health operates through an administrative and a technical workforce and has an extensive central organizational structure.
Currently, the Ministry of health is in the process of revising its organizational structure. Few new departments have been added, like department of health regions, central department of medial services and private health services and licensing department.
Despite the computerization initiative, the communication processes are still based on traditional paper based exchanges and all official correspondence and documents are maintained as hard copies.
A health region is headed by the Director of Health region, who reports to the under secretary of health. Recently a new position of assistant under secretary of health regions is being created. The Area Director is responsible for all the health services in the region according to the technical, administrative and financial authority delegated to him through the ministerial decree. Each health region office supervises and manages at least one general hospital and a number of primary health centres and specialized clinics. In addition to specialized clinics in other 5 regions, most of specialized hospitals are located in Sabah region.
Primary Health Centres
There are 72 primary health centres spread over the country. The services offered by them include general practitioner services and childcare, family medicine, maternity care, diabetes patient care, dentistry, preventive medical care, nursing care and pharmaceuticals. Secondary Health Centres Secondary healthcare services are provided by the six major hospitals: Sabah hospital, Amiri hospital, Adan hospital, Farwaniya hospital, Mubarak Al-Kabeer hospital and Jahra hospital.
The structure of each one of this hospital include a general hospital, a health centre, specialised clinics and dispensaries. The policy of each hospital is to provide the best possible healthcare to all citizens and residents.
Specialised Health Centres
The specialised healthcare service centres in Kuwait include the following:
1. Obstetrics: (delivery) hospital: for maternity
2. Chest hospital: for pulmonary ailments
3. Psychiatric hospital: for mental disorders
4. Ibn Sina hospital: for neurosurgery
5. Razi hospital: for burns
6. Kuwait Center for Allergies: for allergies
7. Kuwait Cancer Control Center: for cancer diagnosis and treatment
8. Hearing Impairments Center: for disorders connected with hearing
9. Hamed Al-Essa Transplant Center: for organ transplants
10. Sulaibikhat hospital: for physiotherapy and rehabilitation
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