KHI and Health Care Reform Advisory Group Tackle Health Reform in Kuwait

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Leading health activists and public health experts present comprehensive strategy for sustainable and equitable health sector reform to Kuwait's Ministry of Health and Parliamentarians.

In its effort to support the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Assembly Health Committee in their upcoming plans to reform the health sector, the Kuwait Health Initiative, a leading non-profit health policy group, and other renowned health activists in Kuwait have formed the non-profit Health Care Reform Advisory Group (HCRAG) to design and promote a comprehensive, evidence-based reform agenda.

The proposals put forth by governmental officials and representatives of the Health Committee for a vote at the National Assembly include a bill on health insurance for Kuwaiti nationals and a bill to establish a "Health Authority" that will serve as regulator of health services.

Earlier in the year, HCRAG members have reviewed these bills, which have been drafted with the support of paid consultants, including Kuwait-based The Advisory Group, a for-profit health care consultancy. The HCRAG argues that despite exhibiting an intention to improve health services, it found major conceptual and technical flaws that will put at risk the future of health care in Kuwait. Specifically, a proposal stemming from the Health Committee advocates for a private, for-profit health insurance scheme. "There currently exists no evidence to support the use of for-profit insurances to finance a nation's health care in a fair and cost-effective manner. Quite the contrary, such mechanisms have time and again resulted in poor health outcomes, in inequalities in health care access and delivery, and in an inability to contain rising health care costs." says the Chairman of the KHI and public health specialist Dr. Nadeem Al-Duaij. "We believe in the need for health insurance to protect the individual from catastrophic health expenditures but this must be done through the adoption of a non-profit social health insurance or similar scheme that is supported by current health policy evidence."

Representatives of HCRAG argue that for reform to be significant and sustainable, it must be comprehensive and it must translate into an equitable distribution of services among all residents of a given nation while improving three major performance measures, namely, health status, financial risk protection, and customer satisfaction. The group has finalized and submitted a report, endorsed by leading international experts, that offers evidence-based recommendations on broad health reform strategies targeting multiple dimensions of the health system and emphasizing the need for a stronger primary and preventive care approach. "Too much attention has been paid to costly curative interventions, exemplified by the building of more hospitals and growing investments in technology, when simple prevention and an effective primary care system will yield far greater benefits for the entire population in the long-run."

Dr. Al-Duaij concludes by stating "the recommendations we have submitted to Kuwait's policy-makers represent the best way to move our ailing health system forward and to address the growing problem of chronic diseases, patient dissatisfaction, and the lack of incentive among our providers."

About Kuwait Health Initiative - KHI is a leading non-profit, non-partisan, and independent think tank based in Kuwait that promotes equitable health policy strategies through research, education, practice development, and strategic partnerships in the field of public health. For more information, please visit http://www.q8health.org

About Health Care Reform Advisory Group - HCRAG is a Kuwait-based non-profit group dedicated to providing evidence-based, impartial, and equitable recommendations for proper health sector reform in Kuwait. For more information, please visit http://www.q8healthreform.org

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Nadeem Alduaij

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