The Dreaded Medical Exam in Doha

For those who are planning to move to this city, one thing that you may want to know is that they do impose a strict rule of medical exam in Doha for anyone who wants to have a residence permit or in my case – an extension of the family visit visa while RP is being processed. This is the same procedure as in Dubai. Basically, they will get blood samples from you to test for HIV and Hepatitis B and C afterwards, a chest x-ray is also mandatory to test for pulmonary tuberculosis.

I dread this medical exams personally plainly because I hate needles. That and I know how chaotic it is going to be in a medical clinic with hundreds of other people trying to do the same thing as you. Anyway, I was scheduled at 4pm last Monday and the Greek Mister’s company driver picked me up. We drove for about 45 minutes around the city and I’m pretty sure that we were almost at the border of Saudi and Qatar when we finally arrived at the medical clinic. Of course I’m exaggerating. I was met by the company’s PRO and was advised of what to do:

Go inside, take a number, pay QAR100 from this debit card, come back outside and give me the receipt.
Sir yes sir!

Of course there’s a separate area for men and women so the male PRO who met me wasn’t allowed to enter the women-only zone. The payment wasn’t a hassle, I didn’t wait for a long time as there were only about 5 other women with me. I dutifully went outside after paying the QAR100 fee and gave the receipt to the PRO who then told me that the driver will wait for me until I’m finished with the medical exam. That’s a relief as I don’t think there is an option for me to get a public transportation from that area.

I went inside once again to have my blood sample taken. There were only about 6 of us waiting but then, as many of you may be aware by now, organization is not a priority in government offices not only in Doha but around the world I guess (I can honestly say that for the Philippines). Employees kept coming with someone they know and kept jumping the non-existent line which I tried to form. So at some point, I told myself that if I’m not going to push my way forward towards that door then my blood won’t be taken and I’d be stuck here, forever. I didn’t want that to happen so I pushed myself forward and stood in the middle of the door so that noone can get in nor out of it unless I’ve successfully passed through it. It worked.

With a very sore and painful arm (which lasted for 2 weeks after the medical exam), I headed towards the x-ray room where the wait was longer but the nurse was extremely strict so chaos was out of the question. There was a girl who tried to get ahead of the people and she was shouted at by the very strict nurse and told her to wait like what everyone else is doing. I wanted to give the nurse a standing ovation at that point. When our turn came, we were told to remove our shirt and use one of the robes in what I can call as “laundry bag”. I thought it was unhygienic to use something which was already worn by someone else before you but then who am I to complain when everyone around me is putting them on just to get it over with.

The nurse inside the x-ray room was also very strict and can speak all kinds of different languages – Arabic, Hindi, Malayalam, English, Tagalog – so she was able to instruct people on what to do. My turn came and the nurse told me:

Tingin sa taas, deretso katawan, hinga malalim, pigil. Tapos na.
Translation: Look up, straighten your body, inhale deeply, hold. Finish.

It was already 5:50pm when I got out of the x-ray room so the whole process was almost 2 hours. There were a lot more people waiting there when I left so I guess you should probably avoid this peak hour to do your medical. I was there to extend my family visit visa for one more month since my residence visa is still under process so I’m hoping that I don’t have to do this medical again when I’m going to change my visa to a resident one. *Crossing my fingers*