At around 400,000 people, Nepalis constitute the second largest population of expats in Qatar (behind Indians, who number half a million). Yet there are only two doctors from Nepal working in Doha, Ambassador Maya Kumari Sharma has said – a dearth that is affecting the health of the Nepali population here.
Gulf Times reports:
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…
“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.
Much of the Nepalese population here works in blue-collar jobs such as construction labor, and have been vulnerable to abuse.
For example, some 32 Nepalis in Qatar died in July, a record number for the community. Most of the deceased were construction workers in their 20s who died of cardiovascular disease. Suicides in Qatar are also said to be most prevalent among members of this community.
In a bid to improve the status of its people, Nepal is now pushing for Qatar to hire more of its skilled workforce, including doctors, nurses, engineers and other professionals with “good command of the English language,” Sharma said.
But it is unclear how these nationals would fare in Qatar.
Earlier this year, a well-educated Nepali teacher was jailed after his former Qatar Academy students accused him of insulting Islam.
Dorje Gurung was eventually released and sent home after an international outcry over his detainment ensued, but has spoken of nearly two years of harassment at QA from students due to his nationality.
Credit: Photo by Kathea Pinto