Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter
The Nepalese embassy in Doha is hoping that government-owned as well as private hospitals in Qatar will consider hiring more doctors from the Himalayan country to attend to the thousands of Nepalese labourers who need medical treatment in the country.
Nepalese ambassador Maya Kumari Sharma told Gulf Times that presently, they have only two doctors working in private clinics in Doha.
The ambassador was speaking on the sidelines of the Malaysian National Day reception held at the Al Gassar Resort. It was graced by Qatar officials and diplomats from various embassies.
“I think two doctors would not be enough to attend to this huge population of expatriates (and still growing) who seek medical treatment,” she said.
It is learnt that more than 400,000 Nepalis work in Qatar – the second largest number of expatriates after Indians (more than 500,000). Filipinos come third at about 200,000.
Sharma stressed that most Nepalese labourers who get sick have a hard time explaining what they really feel to foreign doctors during their medical check-up since they cannot speak either English or Arabic. This, she said, has resulted in inaccurate diagnosis of patients.
Although some Nepalis can speak some Indian languages, she said they still prefer to speak and be treated by their doctors.
Sharma disclosed that many of their labourers have suffered from various heat-related and life-threatening illnesses like heat stroke, heart attack and aneurism.
Earlier reports also revealed that during the searing hot season, about 13 Nepalis died from different cardiovascular diseases in a month. In one year, 32 were recorded to have died from similar causes. But the figure excludes those who died of other diseases and from accidents.
While construction firms in Qatar follow the government’s directive to stop “work in the open” during mid-day during the peak summer months, some labourers were still seen working during the rest period of 11am to 3pm.
“If we have more doctors here, it would be easier for them to express what they really feel and I believe many of our expatriates will receive proper medical treatment,” said Sharma, adding that Nepalis also constitute the biggest number of labourers in the country.
She added that thousands of qualified medical practitioners in Nepal like nurses and paramedical staff want to work in the Middle East, especially in Qatar.
While admitting they receive dozens of different labour-related problems everyday in the embassy, Sharma noted that they are now focusing on sending professionals to the country.
“Besides doctors, our engineers, accountants, nurses and other professionals are also competitive and have a good command of the English language,” said the ambassador.
Nepalese ambassador Maya Kumari Sharma