Members of medical team walk in front of the Institute of Research for Tropical Medicine amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said on Thursday Egyptian doctors who die owing to the coronavirus are treated as martyrs, the Egyptian Medical Syndicate announced.
Madoubly said during a meeting with the head of the syndicate Dr Hussein Khairy that financial compensations to the doctors' families will be handled by the Fund of Medical Professions announced by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in late March, the syndicate noted.
The meeting was attended by Presidential Health Adviser Dr Awad Tag El-Din. It tackled the latest coronavirus developments and the problems and demands of medical teams.
Khairy discussed four issues in the meeting: the shortage of some medical supplies and the lack of proper training; the syndicate's demand to increase PCR tests for medical staffs; allocating isolation hospitals for infected medical team members; and the doctors' request that in the eventuality of their death due to the coronavirus they be treated as martyrs and their families be compensated financially like the martyrs of the police and Armed Forces, the syndicate's statement added.
The head of the syndicate also raised the issue of the new doctors’ assignment system and the controversy among young graduated doctors.
Madbouly said the issue was still being negotiated with all parties involved.
He added the medical supplies were available in hospitals but that there was a bureaucracy crisis with warehouse managers that will be dealt with immediately.
The prime minister also stated the PCR testing was in fact being expanded and special places to isolate infected members of medical teams are being allocated in hospitals in accordance with previous cabinet decrees, the statement said.
In the past two weeks, the Egyptian government enrolled 330 general, centralised and university hospitals nationwide to screen coronavirus patients.
“The prime minister asserted that he was ready to be involved personally to solve any complaint sent by the medical syndicate through a communication channel in order to solve any crisis immediately,” the statement continued.
The meeting came after the syndicate presented several demands to the government concerning the safety of medical teams in hospitals after the spread of the virus among the medical teams in the past few weeks.
The Egyptian Medical Syndicate reported that at least 350 doctors were infected last week.
In the past 24 hours, the syndicate reported the death of three doctors due to the coronavirus, raising the death toll of doctors due to the pandemic to 23.
Egypt has reported so far 20,793 coronavirus cases since the outbreak of the virus in mid-February, including 5,395 fully recovered cases and 845 fatalities.
The syndicate held an online press conference last Thursday to request the government to extend the partial curfew implemented during the Eid week for two more weeks to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
The conference took place amid the growing anger among doctors following the death of Dr Walid Abdel Halim, a 32-year-old doctor who worked at El-Munira General Hospital and contracted the coronavirus and passed away last week.
The death of Abdel-Halim stirred uproar among doctors across social media platforms as many accused the Ministry of Health of ignoring the requests of medical staffs."
There have been repeated calls by the medical and nursing syndicates as well as the Medical Professions Union for the health ministry to allocate special hospitals for infected medical staffs amid a surge in their cases.
In a statement on Monday, the Egyptian Medical Syndicate held the ministry "fully responsible" for the rise in coronavirus infections and deaths among medical staff which it said is the result of the ministry’s “inaction and negligence to protect them.”
Initial investigation into the death of Abdel-Halim after he had contracted the coronavirus revealed that "some aspects of administrative deficiency" have occurred in dealing with the infected doctor at the hospital, the health ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.