Egyptian initiative to support women’s health screened 21 mln: Health ministry

Reem Abdulkader, Thursday 16 Dec 2021

Egypt’s Acting Health Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar said on Thursday that 21 million women have been screened as part of the presidential initiative to support women's health, a statement by the ministry read.

women s health
File Photo: A medical worker checking on an old woman in Aswan. Photo courtesy of Egyptian Health Facebook page.

The announcement was made at a meeting Abdel-Ghaffar held to follow up on the progress of the initiative and key performance indicators. 

The initiative was launched in 2019 to screen 28 million women over 18 years old nationwide. It is part of the 100 Million Health initiative, which has screened over 60 million people for hepatitis C. 

The women's health initiative is designed to screen carcinoma of the breast at an early stage, pursue clinical examination, and provide free-of-charge treatment, focusing on reproductive health, family planning, and healthy lifestyles. The detection of noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure, and obesity, is an integral part of the initiative, which considers their risk factors and promotes breast self-exam, according to the presidency's website.

The meeting, which was attended by Assistant Health Minister Mohamed Hassani and the initiative's Executive Director Ahmed Morsy, reviewed the rates of treatment provided to more than 10,000 women before and during the initiative.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, about 15 million women have been examined in the initiative, according to the statement.

The health ministry spokesperson Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar explained that 185,191 mammogram scans were performed, 11,263 tumor samples were taken for analysis, and 6,093 cases of breast cancer were detected and provided with treatment since the launch of the initiative.

Thanks to the initiative, the average time from screening to diagnosis was shortened from 141 to 21 days, while the period from screening to treatment was decreased from 270 to 38 days, according to the spokesperson.

The minister stressed the importance of disseminating the scientific researches conducted on the results of public health initiatives in leading international scientific journals to help the rest of the world develop treatment protocols.

He directed the quick activation of the terms of cooperation with the National Centre of Oncology in France (Gustave Roussy) and transferring the experience of the one-stop clinics for detecting breast cancer, which will help in the rapid diagnosis of cases with high efficiency and in one place in eight hours.

Morsy revealed that 14 health ministry-affiliated centres are providing cutting-edge breast cancer treatment under the initiative, and that the same services are offered at 13 new hospitals affiliated with the Supreme Council of University Hospitals.

Through the initiative’s website, Morsy said, women can locate their nearest clinics or inquire about them via the hotline 15335.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said in July 2021 that the state pays “special” attention to women while drawing up its coronavirus policies, which is “out of the country’s awareness that women are the most affected groups when such crises occur.”

In addition to supporting women’s health via the related presidential initiatives, the country has also developed financial and economic policies to further empower women economically and create job opportunities for irregular female workers, the president noted.

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