Emergency room visits do cost money, unless of course, you're either a Kuwaiti, in which case it's free of charge or, you're insured privately. Life threatening injuries will be treated, regardless of one's ability to pay.
All three emergency services, fire, police and ambulance, can be reached inside Kuwait by calling 112 on landlines and cell phones.
Ambulance services exist, with trained medical staff onboard. Average response time, from the time they receive your call, is roughly eight minutes. However, due to heavy traffic and an absolute disregard by most drivers to yield when emergency vehicles are approaching, cuts into response times. If you need to get to a hospital quickly, the best and most reliable means of transportation is your own vehicle. Failing that, go by taxi.
Pharmacies are plentiful and are scattered throughout Kuwait. There may be several drugstores just outside your front door, or a few minutes' drive from your home. Lots of medicines are accessible from pharmacies without having to obtain a prescription from a doctor, including many that would normally require a prescription in most western and European countries. Then again, some medicines that can be easily purchased without prescription elsewhere require a prescription in Kuwait.
Local pharmacies carry a wide variety of non-medical items, including cosmetics for ladies and perfumes for both men and women, but those items do come at a cost. They are generally much more expensive to purchase. Common medicines, such as painkillers, cough syrup and eye drops, are widely available in supermarkets and large retail stores.
Most pharmacies open from 9.30am to 1pm and from 4.30 to 8.30pm, Saturdays to Thursdays. Many remain open all day, or even 24 hours. Many hospitals have a 24-hour pharmacy, where you can obtain prescription and non-prescription medicines.
Note that The Health Ministry sets all prices for medicines in Kuwait, whether prescription or non-prescription.
Below is a list of pharmacies by Governorate:
For a complete list of pharmacies, visit Kuwait's E-Gov site.
With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Kuwait City is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in Kuwait. So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover!
EasyExpat.com works in partnership with APRIL International to provide specific insurance solutions for travelling or staying outside your country of nationality.
Designed for either short or long stays, APRIL International’s insurance policies offer protection against any problems that might arise before departure or during your time in Kuwait: cancelling your trip, medical expenses following an illness or accident, needing to be repatriated, causing damage to a third party or losing your luggage.