Access to Healthcare – the struggle of Migrant Domestic Workers in the Gulf

Medical care for domestic workers is not a priority for employers in the GCC countries. Often times, employers refuse to arrange medical treatment for their domestic workers when they suffer illness or injuries. Denial of medical treatment constitutes a violation of the principle of medical impartiality, which requires noninterference with a patient’s access to health care.

An estimated 2.4 million migrant domestic workers (MDWs), mostly women from Asian and African countries, are deployed throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council “GCC” countries. The vast majority of them are live-in MDWs. Once confined to a home, these workers are vulnerable to exploitation. Pervasive employer abuse is widely documented. The Nepali Embassy in Kuwait receives more than thirty cases of exploitation and abuse a week. The Ethiopian consulate in Dubai receives five to ten complaints every day. Numerous studies trace abuse back to the highly restrictive kafala system.

The European Centre for Democracy Human Rights has come up with a new report on Access to healthcare for Migrant Domestic Workers in the GCC countries – you can read the whole text here.

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