Bahrain 'ideal for medical tourism'
Manama, July 9, 2011
Plans to turn Bahrain into a regional hub for medical tourism will be raised during the National Dialogue, said a Shura Council member who is a taking part in the key talks.
Ahmad Bahzad proposes to revamp health services through educational programmes for Bahraini doctors, subsidising medicines and putting Bahrain on the map as a destination for world class medical treatment.
'Many people complain about high prices for medicines and pharmaceuticals, so we must work on subsidising our medical supplies and not relying on importing medicines from abroad,' said Mr Bahzad.
'We propose that specialist doctors from abroad come to Bahrain to train and teach our doctors, thus improving the quality of healthcare and treatment.
'In this way, we can reduce the number of potential Bahraini nurses and doctors who travel abroad to complete their education and hopefully with this raised quality, we can encourage health tourists to come to Bahrain for treatment.'
Bahzad also wants a compulsory medical insurance law.
'I know that this law will not be well received, but this will reduce the pressure on government hospitals and encourage people to visit private hospitals for treatment,' he said.
'Each employee should have medical insurance, acquired by the company, and this will ensure that everyone is given equal medical treatment.'
Bahzad also wants a revamp of Bahrain's education system and housing allowance system.
'We propose a national system to entrench social responsibility among the private sector and banks,' he said.
'Every Bahraini has the right to a house and we suggest that loans with very low interest be provided to those in need.
'The waiting list for these houses should not exceed seven years and people who have obtained a housing loan should not have to wait longer than three years before they receive their houses.
'Housing loans should also be increased to BD80,000 per applicant.
'Arrangements should be made in conjunction with the Housing Ministry regarding building equipment and materials to ensure reasonable and affordable prices.'
Companies in the private sector can take responsibility through providing education in and outside Bahrain, said Mr Bahzad.
'We suggest that the big companies look after at least 10 people from society and fund their further education outside the country,' he said.
'Through co-operation between the Education Ministry and the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, more schools could be established to improve the education system.'
Fellow Shura Council member Dr Aysha Mubarak shared many of Bahzad's views, particularly regarding changes to Bahrain's education system.
'My main focus is on the development of our education system and curriculum as since the political crisis I feel our curriculum has become political and we must improve our educational institutions to combat this,' she said.
'We now must be really strict with the criteria needed to achieve better standards of higher education in the country.'
Dr Mubarak also backed the need to solve the country's housing problems through stronger partnerships between the private sector and the Housing Ministry.
She remains positive about the outcome of the National Dialogue, believing it is the only way to haul the country out of its crisis.
'I am very happy to participate, especially as those taking part are the crme de la crme of society and we have to listen to their problems and views in an open manner,' said Dr Mubarak.
'Through this we hope to establish a peaceful and calm future for Bahrain,' she added-TradeArabia News Service