Shortage of plastic cards hits Sharjah Health Ministry

SHARJAH - An unprecedented delay in delivering health cards to applicants at the Sharjah Medical District, which has caused great worry for many expatriates, has been blamed on the late arrival of a shipment of `plastic cards' imported through a private company and used by the health ministry.

By (By a staff reporter)

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Published: Thu 13 May 2004, 12:24 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:24 PM

Suad Ali Al Ajil, Head of the Health Card Registration Section at the Sharjah Medical District, told Khaleej Times that the problem lay with the company with whom the MoH had a contract for the supply of `blank plastic cards'.

She said the district took swift action to arrange alternative supplies, but in the mean time, there were unavoidable delays in the delivery of health cards to applicants.

"We have given instructions to MoH hospitals and medical centres in Sharjah to admit patients who have not received their health cards without delay, especially in emergency situations, so that the customer does not suffer unnecessarily due to this delay," Ms Al Ajil said.

Asked why some people have had to wait two months before they were issued their health cards, Ms Al Ajil said that normally, her section issues an average of 1,500 health cards daily.

This number had to reduced to just below 1,000 due to the shortage of plastic cards and delay in resupply.

This situation created a backlog of health card applications which resulted in the inevitable delay.

"The largest number of health card applicants are non-citizens. On an average, we get 600 applications a day from expatriates applying for health cards. In a single month, we register 33,000 health card applications."

"The MoH does not turn anyone away, and we try our best to solve problems and remove obstacles to make sure the process is as smooth as possible. The other day, an applicant approached this office after he had lost his health card receipt. In spite of this, we managed to sort out his problem and hand him his health card on time," Ms Al Ajil said.

For an expatriate working in other emirates to get an MoH health card from Sharjah, all that is needed is a tenancy contract from Sharjah to prove residence in the emirate.

For children under ten years old, the annual health card fee is Dh100, for young adults under 18, the annual fee is Dh200, and for those over 18 years, the annual fee is Dh300.

For many expatriates working in Dubai, getting an MoH health card from their emirate of residence has become an attractive alternative to a health card from Dubai, following the introduction of new fees by the Dubai Department of Health and Medical Services (Dohms).

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