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Egypt's army receives first batch of imported baby formula to ease shortage

Ahram Online , Monday 19 Sep 2016
baby formula
Photo issued by the Egyptian army of the first batch of baby formula imported from France, Alexandria, Egypt, September 19, 2016
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Egypt's army said that the first shipment of baby formula purchased from France with the aim of easing severe market shortages has arrived in the country.

The formula packages will be available in markets at a subsidised price of EGP 30 each (around $3.4, half of the market price), the military said in a statement Monday.

Committees of experts from the Armed Forces, the health ministry and the General Organisation for Export and Import Control have been tasked with inspecting the delivery and ensure compliance with quality standards, the statement added.

The packages, delivered to the port of Alexandria, will be available at pharmacies and government-run distribution centres across the country.

Severe shortages in baby formula sparked protests by dozens of Egyptian mothers earlier this month and prompted the health ministry to broaden the criteria for those eligible to receive subsidised baby formula.

The new criteria include families with two or more twins, mothers unable to produce enough natural breast milk, mothers suffering from chronic illnesses, or mothers taking prescription drugs that affect the quality of breast milk.

Under the previous regulations, the health condition of the mother or the birth of triplets were the only conditions under which citizens were eligible to receive the subsidised formula.

Health minister Ahmed Emad El-Din said on Sunday that outlets providing the subsidised formula will be increased from 1,005 to 1,600 by the end of the month.

The state-run Egyptian Pharmaceutical Trading Company recently said that it would import and distribute 30 million milk packs; 12 million in pharmacies and 18 million at health ministry outlets, company spokesman Karim Karam told Aswat Masriya on Sunday.

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