Most Filipinos do not think about medical care. The Philippines has been blessed with a temperate clime that rarely fosters ill health. As an OFW though, we need to think about our health for the sake of our family back home. I have prepared a helpful health guide for an OFW living in Saudi Arabia.
The very basis of good health is the way you live. Exercise, a healthy diet, and of course, staying away from stress is a key factor in taking care of your body. Make sure to get a gym membership if you’re a couch potato. Paying for it will motivate you into going. Here is a list of the best gyms in Saudi, as rated by Trip Advisor Philippines.
Quality of Care
Saudi Arabia has medical facilities at par with most of the western world. English is the preferred language in hospitals. This is due to the large number of expatriates manning the institutions, be it doctors, nurses, medical technicians, or pharmacists. You might even find yourself talking in Tagalog as Saudi Arabia has a large number of OFW nurses serving the populace.
The Kingdom has spent a great deal on medical care and facilities, even outspending North America in terms of the total expenditure as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Free health coverage though, is limited to their nationals. Due to the high quality of care, medical costs can also be expensive for an OFW.
Health insurance coverage is required for non-Saudi nationals. Most employers would include it in a contract, but you have to make sure. Read through your employment contract and find out how much is covered for how long. Look for what is included or excluded in your health plan. Most Group Medicals exclude pre-existing conditions, though. It means that if you were Diabetic before getting coverage, chances are, any Diabetes-related stay won’t be covered.
If your employer will not cover health insurance, make sure to get one. Here is a link to the Council of Cooperative Health Insurance and the companies licensed to offer Health plans. Here is a plan calculator to guide you as well.
As soon as you land in Saudi Arabia, make sure to establish a support group by connecting with fellow OFW in your area through your workplace, online forums, and/or social media. They will be your family while you’re in a strange land. They will be the ones looking out for you if ever you need help. Being independent is well and good, but we all need help sometimes. And that is the best health guide I can give.
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