Egypt to share 30 mln shots of COVID vaccines with Africa, Sisi says at Africa Health ExCon

Ahram Online , Sunday 5 Jun 2022

Egypt will donate 30 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to African countries, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi announced on Sunday while addressing Africa Health ExCon, the first African health conference, which is being held in the Egyptian capital Cairo.

President Sisi, ExCon
A still photo of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly attending the first African health conference ''Africa Health ExCon'' at Al-Manara International Conference Centre in New Cairo on Sunday


El-Sisi said this initiative will be coordinated through the African Union, and he expressed Egypt’s readiness to cooperate with African nations in different domains, saying “we are not a state with huge resources, but we can cooperate with Africa and all world as well.”

The cooperation can extend to training programmes, education, treatment, transfer or exchange of expertise, and drug manufacturing, El-Sisi pointed out.

Running till Tuesday, Africa Health ExCon kicked off earlier today at Al-Manara International Conference Centre in New Cairo.

Around 2,000 delegates representing government health entities from Africa and the Middle East are participating in the conference, which is organised by the Egyptian Authority for Unified Procurement (UPA) and is the biggest medical exhibition and conference on the continent.

Over 350 companies operating in more than 102 countries are also taking part in the conference, and will be unveiling the latest medical technologies and outlining the best practices for sustainable healthcare on the continent.

During his speech, El-Sisi told drug companies that Africa represents "a promising" market, as its population is expected to hit 2.5 billion in 20-30 years, up from 1.3 billion at present.

The president stressed that a shortage of resources in Africa is no obstacle to achieving goals or addressing besetting challenges as long as there is a "relentless" will and resolve.

El-Sisi also reviewed the Egyptian efforts in handling medical challenges, saying that those who suffer a lack of resource and scarcity of money have nothing but ideas.

The country's economic resources don't allow offering health care for over 100 million citizens at global standards, but these circumstances have never demotivated the country, which sought over the past few years for other alternatives.

Egypt, he noted, has launched several initiatives to solve certain problems, including the ‘100 Million Health’ initiative and its subgoal of the early detection of Hepatitis C virus, which until recently was one the country's biggest public health threats.

The 100 Million Health Initiative was launched in 2018 to screen and eliminate hepatitis and non-communicable diseases. In July 2020, the country announced it was free of Hepatitis C.

Egypt also has launched a national campaign to decease the waiting time for patients awaiting state-funded surgeries and critical medical interventions, noting that the country has performed around 1.3 million surgeries at an average cost of EGP 100,000-400,000.

Egypt may not be able to roll out inclusive health insurance in a short space of time, but it seeks to do so within 10 years as scheduled in the country's Universal Health Insurance System.

The six-phase healthcare scheme, launched experimentally in 2018 in five governorates, is set to be completed nationwide by 2027, with the second phase kicking off between 2021 and 2023.

As for water challenges, El-Sisi said Egypt's share of water, which amounts to 55 billion cubic meters annually, has never changed over time, even since Egypt's population was only 3 or 4 million people.

Egypt has never been in conflict with fellow African countries to increase this share, but has rather focused on initiatives to maximise its water resources, including water treatment programmes, the president added.

Egypt is working on providing alternative sources of drinking water through desalination in coastal governorates and the reuse of treated water.

In September 2021, Egypt inaugurated the water treatment plant of Bahr Al-Baqar, the largest of its kind worldwide, at a cost of EGP 20 billion and with a production capacity of 5.6 million cubic metres per day.

Egypt will be the number one or two country in the world in maximising its water resources, El-Sisi noted.

Challenges have never been obstacles, but opportunities, and Africa is able to surpass any problem, the president stressed.

El-Sisi also spoke about the importance of maintaining stability, asserting that the only challenge that cripples any state is instability and insecurity. He also stressed that losing security and stability in any country diminishes investment opportunities.

No company would venture to invest in an unstable country for fear of destruction or sabotage to its infrastructure, El-Sisi explained, noting that even the state itself would not be capable of providing infrastructure projects and so the state would plunge into an endless cycle of crises and suffering.

The conference will include 350 sessions and 20 workshops featuring more than 800 international medical speakers and experts, with the aim of showcasing the latest technologies in the field of medicine as well as initiatives that support Africa ExCon as a sustainable platform that connects international healthcare partners.

Also attending are Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and acting Health Minister Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar, and Presidential Advisor for Health Affairs Mohamed Awad Tag El-Din.

Africa Health ExCon will help put Egypt on track to becoming Africa’s health technology hub, said Bahaa El-Din Zidan, chairman of the UPA.


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