Philippines sends 'sick' maids to Gulf: official

Many housemaids coming from the Philippines to work in the oil-rich Gulf have been found to be sick in the absence of measures to examine them before they arrive, a region al health official was quoted on Thursday as saying, Dr Tawfiq Khowja, director general of the executive office of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) health ministers, said the problem emerged after the Philippine government decided to stop dealing with authorized health centers in the GCC.

Quoted by the Saudi daily Makka, he said Manila’s decision meant that GCC health centres could no longer examine the domestic workers coming from the Philippines and that regional states have to rely on medical reports issued by Philippine health centres.

“Many of those centres are forging medical reports issued for those maids and other domestic workers…this has led to a large increase in Philippine domestic workers who are sick or are unfit for work,” he said.

“We have received many reports about Gulf families complaining that they have discovered that their maids are suffering from diseases including diabetes and high blood pressure and that they have to be taken to hospitals quite often…most of those reports said the employers found that their maids are not fit for that job.”

Khowja said the executive office has reported the problem to the Riyadh-based GCC secretariat to take the necessary measures.

The GCC groups the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. They are one of the world’s biggest bases for Asian labour.

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