Kuwaiti landmark ruling gives expat free medication

Syrian father living in Kuwait wins case to gain free medicine for sick daughter, worth $234,000 per year
By Courtney Trenwith
Mon 10 Mar 2014 01:23 PM

A Kuwaiti court has issued a landmark ruling that could see expats given free medical treatment when they cannot afford it.

A Syrian father has successfully won a case seeking free treatment for his three-year-old daughter, who was born in Kuwait with the rare Guacher’s disease, Kuwait Times reported.

He told the Court of First Instance that the Ministry of Health had refused to give the girl regular doses of Cerezymen 400, a medication prescribed by doctors for her condition.

The medication, which must be injected, costs KD65,865 ($234,00) a year.

In its ruling, the court said the Kuwaiti constitution ensured children were “protected” from “moral, physical and spiritual neglect”.

It also referred to the UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states, “children have the right to good quality health care – the best health care possible – to safe drinking water, nuturitious food, a clean and safe environment and information to help them stay healthy”.

“Childhood is the basis for the construction of families and societies; whose development require childhood care,” the court said in a written judgment quoted by Kuwait Times.

“As a result, nations give importance to childhood care out of realisation that a child is of maximum importance for his family and the whole nation.

“Therefore, constitutions around the world are keen on protecting children’s rights and on top of that comes the right of treatment.”

Expats in Kuwait are entitled to subsidised treatment at public medical facilities but some medications and procedures have been made available exclusively for citizens, according to Kuwait Times.

Last year, the government implemented segregated access to some medical centres, allowing expats to visit only in the afternoon, unless in an emergency.

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