The public clinics in Kuwait are always an experience. In Kuwait there are two types of healthcare- private and government. Every year when each expatriate renews their civil id in order to legally stay in the country they must purchase government healthcare coverage for the year as well. This usually costs around $175.
The private hospitals are nice and there are a lot of choices as to where one can go when you are sick. That being said they usually cost 10-20 kd per visit for a consultation, blood tests are extra as well as medication.
The government clinics are a fiasco. Here is why they are good: It only costs around $3.75 to go there and see a doctor and most medication there is free, most blood tests are free. If the blood tests aren't free they are at least 1/2 the cost of what they would charge you in private hospitals.
I don't mind going to the government clinics because I know enough Arabic, ive been there enough time and I know how to mentally prepare myself. I also figure why pay all this money when if you know what you are doing you can go to the clinic see the dr, get the meds and tests for free. Many expatriates don't share my view and opt for the private hospitals- their choice.
Sometimes expatriates are mandated to go to the public clinics in order to get vaccinations for their children, have a doctor fill out a wellness health form so children can go to school and for health checks after entering the country.
Today I went to the public clinic. The first thing you need to know when you go there is that whatever you need done that day- assume that it wont happen- at least not everything you are trying to do. Today I went because I wanted to run routine blood tests and get medicine for heartburn. I also had to get my child his vaccinations.
I came in, got my 1kd co pay stamp and gave it to the man at the window with my civil ID and then he gave me a ticket with my number and a paper assigning the room I was to report to in order to see the doctor.
I make it to the room and I see there are a few numbers to go but the numbers are not changing. I get closer to the examination room and I hear laughing- casual and relaxed while at least 3 patients are waiting at the door- many of them with sick children. I look at the woman next to me and ask her if the dr is seeing patients and she said no. So basically at 8am in the morning the doctor decides to take a chat break for 10 minutes with her colleagues while the rest of us wait. I joked with her that they must be having a party in there and to wait for the tea to come too bc the staff is notorious for sitting around drinking tea joking with each other while everyone needlessly waits.
When I finally make it inside as predicted the dr was in fact drinking tea and we saw a few other staff members leaving the room as well. I make it up there tell her what I need and the first thing she tells me is no. In order to have the routine lab tests I wanted I needed a dr's permission. It was my mistake because I told her a doctor in Egypt said I was anemic so I wanted blood tests to see how my levels were after taking iron supplements. She said no you must have permission from the doctor.
I just looked at her like shes crazy- umm excuse me aren't you a doctor? Here is the thing about many doctors in the clinic- they love to tell you no. They love to tell you that you cant do something and to make you come back another day this is the game they play- only I know the game too and I know better than to fall into the trap.
I sit there and smile and basically ramble on about how tired I am and all my symptoms (thank you google) that would make the test necessary and then I just keep talking about my heartburn and maybe I need this supplement. At this point she will do whatever I want just to get rid of me- it works I did get the lab referral.
The downside: she never prescribed any medication although I wanted some for anemia and heartburn. When I went to the pharmacy to take medication the pharmacist told me that the dr didn't prescribe anything- this is not the first time it has happened to me. I didn't bother going back there was no point- something was bound not to go right.
I brought my son to another part of the clinic to get his vaccinations. Here is what I will never understand about the nurses doing vaccinations- they never use gloves and they don't disinfect the area before they administer them. I don't get it. One time I asked one of the nurses to put on gloves and she gave me a blank stare and claimed she didn't have any.
This time I asked the nurse to disinfect the area before vaccinating and guess what she told me? She cant do that because if she puts any kind of alcohol on the area before hand it makes the vaccine ineffective. Has anyone ever heard of this happening? This was MMR booster and Meningitis. I thought she was crazy but then I told myself well this is her job she sits here and gives vaccinations all day maybe its true. I went home and actually looked it up online and it was true- I couldn't believe it. How do you like them apples? I'm glad I didn't argue with her and make myself look stupid.
All in all it took a while, was an adventure but once you get used to it- its to be expected.