Government Communications Office statement in response to The Guardian article
The health and wellbeing of everyone in Qatar is of the utmost importance to the government. Every lost life is a tragedy, and no effort is spared in trying to prevent every death in our country.
More than 1.4 million expatriates from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal live in Qatar. This includes students, seniors, and workers employed across a range of industries. Millions more have lived in Qatar during the last 10 years and returned home. All have contributed to Qatar’s economy and sent home remittances that support their families and home nations.
Unfortunately, of the millions of residents from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal who have lived in Qatar from 2011 to 2019, a very small percentage have sadly passed away. Although each loss of life is upsetting, the mortality rate among these communities is within the expected range for the size and demographics of the population.
Over the last two decades, we have transformed our healthcare system to meet the medical needs of our diverse population. Qatar invests more per capita in healthcare than any other GCC country. All citizens and foreign nationals have access to free first-class healthcare, and we continue to implement policies to further improve the health of the population.
Evidence of this progress can be seen in our handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. First-class healthcare and extensive measures were put in place to protect everyone in Qatar. This has resulted in fewer than 300 deaths – one of the lowest rates in the world.
Since 2010, there has been a consistent decline in the mortality rate as a result of the health and safety reforms we have introduced. We expect this downward trend to continue in the future.
As part of our efforts to reduce the mortality rate further, we have raised awareness of health risks such as smoking and an unhealthy diet, strengthened health and safety laws, launched mental health initiatives including a mental health hotline in multiple languages, imposed strict penalties for dangerous driving, and encouraged an active lifestyle. There are strict punishments, including jail time, for business owners who violate safety standards or limits on summer working hours.
Going forward, Qatar is committed to making further progress to strengthen safety and healthcare standards for everyone living and working in our country.