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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 06/10/2012

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People wating for their tests at a health centre. — KT file photo
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) In what is expected to speed up recruitment of labour to GCC countries, trim costs and prevent the spread of infectious diseases, health centres in labour countries have completed the electronic linking process for medical fitness tests for labourers.

With the completion of the first phase of the programme, applicants can log in or register their details online and then be informed by SMS on the date, time and venue for their medical evaluations.

The e-linking process also connects the centres to embassies and consulates of the GCC countries.

A second phase of the programme will commence soon and will include fingerprinting and eye scans before applicants are called for their fitness tests.

A meeting was held in Dubai from October 1 to 3 and health delegates were informed of these developments by Nasser Khelifa Al Budoor, Assistant Undersecretary and member of the Executive Board of the GCC Health Ministers Council.

The centres for health tests are located in 10 countries of which seven are in Asia. The main labour exporting countries to the Middle East are India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, The Philippines, Indonesia and Nepal.

The three other countries are in Africa and they include Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. Annually, some 1.7 million labourers are tested for infectious diseases in the GCC region and this number is expected to go down with the opening of the health centres in the labour exporting countries.

"We are all expected to make a health environment free from diseases and reduce the financial burdens of the ministries of health in purchasing costly medicines with the medical tests being conducted in the host countries itself,'' said Al Budoor.

He said the overseas health testing programme for labourers would save them money and would expedite procedures for their recruitment. It would also prevent the spread of diseases in the GCC countries, he added.

According to the website of the Executive Board of the GCC Health Ministers' Council, there are 250 health centres located across these labour exporting countries.

Since its establishment in 1995, it has set conditions for the import of labour to GCC countries and put an accounting system in place for collection of fees.

It has also set up GCC approved Medical Centres' Associations' in those cities that have more than three medical fitness centres.


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