By Raji Unnikrishnan
Health Minister Sadiq Al Shehabi earlier this month gave clearance for Nigerians to travel freely after the visit of WHO experts who assessed Bahrain’s readiness to fight the deadly virus, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
However, one Nigerian citizen said he was still unable to return to Bahrain if he leaves.
“As per the minister’s statement in the Press, the Health Ministry has given clearance to all Nigerians and they can travel home to their country and can return to Bahrain without any hindrance after the country was declared Ebola-free by the WHO in October,” he told the GDN on condition of anonymity.
“The situation on the ground seems to contradict the minister’s statement and we hope authorities will consider our plight sympathetically, as it is very uncertain.”
The 30-year-old, who has been in Bahrain for four years, said he was due to go on holiday for the first time in three years on December 1.
“In my attempts to travel home on December 1, I approached the immigration authorities at both the airport and their headquarters and was told that if I travelled, I would not be allowed to return,” he said.
“I also know of cases of Nigerians currently residing in Bahrain who applied for their families to join them after the publication of the lifting of the ban, but have had their visa applications rejected on health grounds.
“Also, another resident who recently secured a new job and wants to transfer his visa had his application rejected even after the previous visa was cancelled by his former employer.”
Health Minister Sadiq Al Shehabi told the GDN that the final decision on granting entry to Nigerians was being awaited from the Cabinet.
“We hope that the file, which has been cleared from the Health Ministry and is at present with the Foreign Affairs Ministry, will be discussed in the next Cabinet session,” he said.
The GDN reported in August that 42 citizens of Ebola-affected nations in Bahrain, who had been to their home countries within three months of the crisis, were screened and all tested negative. – TradeArabia News Service
Health & Environment
Hundreds to plant 1,000 trees in ‘go green’ drive
Hundreds of volunteers will tomorrow plant 1,000 trees at Al Fateh Corniche, as part of an awareness drive to protect the environment.
The initiative, titled ‘You for Bahrain’, is being organised by Malabar Gold and Diamonds in co-operation with the Manama Municipality and Gulf City Cleaning Company, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
It will take place from 10am until midday, and the first sapling will be planted by Manama Municipality director-general Shaikh Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.
“The initiative started last year with the goal of achieving a cleaner Bahrain and we conducted a number of clean-ups in areas such as Al Andalus Public Park and Marina Club,” said Malabar Gold and Diamonds regional marketing executive Mahammad Isak.
“This year we are going to plant a total of 1,000 saplings as we are focusing on a mission to make Bahrain greener.
“We will have around 300 volunteers from school students and teachers to employees and members of organisations, clubs and societies who have already registered for the event.” – TradeArabia News Service
Health & Environment
$21m healthcare facilities on way in Bahrain
Plans are under way to set up two new health centres in Muharraq, Bahrain, costing a combined total of around BD8 million ($21 million).
A complex in Galali will be completed by the end of next year, while the one in Busiateen has been slated for late 2016, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
“Land to construct both the centres is available and we are waiting for the approval on the budget,” said Health Ministry health centre director Sima Zainal.
“The Galali centre, which is estimated to cost BD3 million ($8 million) for the building alone and an additional BD1 million ($2.65 million) for the equipment, is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
“The Busiateen centre, which is estimated at BD3.5 million ($9.3 million) for the structure and another BD1.25 million ($3.3 million) for the equipment, is scheduled for 2016.
“Both the centres will be big, modern and equipped with all the latest facilities.
“With these two facilities, the total number of health centres in Muharraq will be eight and by the end of 2016, the governorate will be the one with the largest number of health centres in the country.”
Meanwhile, the Southern Governorate’s third health clinic, Al Hunainiya Health Centre, is expected to be up and running by the end of next year with a cost of BD4 million ($10.6 million).
“In the case of Al Hunainiya Health Centre, the budget has been approved and we are now in the design stage and soon construction will begin,” said Zainal.
“The estimate on the furniture and equipment are yet to be finalised.”
According to Health Ministry primary health care laboratories chief Khalifa Al Salem, the complex would cater to the Riffa population and offers ample space for parking while being far from the congested main road – unlike the East Riffa Health Centre. This could lead to the closing of the East Riffa Health Centre, he said.