During his meeting with the cabinet on Monday, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi previewed the national development plan to advance the healthcare sector.
According to a statement by the presidency spokesperson Alaa Youssef, Al-Sisi asserted the importance of quickening the pace of developing this sector and elevating the financial and human capacities working under it. He highlighted the importance of this development in the remote regions of Upper Egypt and Sinai.
Minister of Health Ahmed Emad El-Din Rady, who was present in the meeting, previewed the ministry’s plans and reviewed related past achievements.
“Next year, EGP 8bn from the ministry’s budget will be allocated to renovate public hospitals and medical centres,” Rady said during the meeting. This plan, which is already in progress, is based on a survey made of the places that need renovations within the next two years, he added.
The amount of EGP 8bn still lies below the required minimum for the developments.
In a recent meeting with the parliamentary health committee in late May, Rady said he rejected the 2016/2017 budget for the health sector several times. “I demanded an amount of EGP 53bn for the sector without health insurance, but I received EGP 48m including health insurance,” he said.
These budget deficiencies were evident at healthcare facilities through shortage of beds, slow services, lack of medical equipment, and understaffing. Only 33 beds per 10,000 citizens are currently available in Cairo public hospitals, according to a factsheet by the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) in 2015.
The Administrative Prosecution notified the cabinet in late May that the entire healthcare sector is no longer capable of meeting citizens’ needs.
On another note, the development plans also address the problem of under-qualified doctors by establishing a mandatory training institution for medical school graduates. Attending the training at this institution will be mandatory for any medical graduate before practicing medicine.
The establishment of this institution, which was raised in the past, has sparked concerns from the Doctors Syndicate.
In the historic general assembly of the syndicate in February, one of the main decisions made was the rejection of such an establishment, believing it will limit the opportunities of doctors to practice their jobs and be used simply to make profit.
In an official statement on 23 May, the syndicate outlined alternative recommendations for ensuring the qualifications of partitioning doctors. Among those recommendations was having a unified training system for medical students during their senior year. This training would provide a universal evaluation system to ensure standard evaluations across different medical facilities. Another suggestion was expanding fellowship opportunities to be a general degree instead of one that follows the Ministry of Health, among others.