Explainer: Egypt's pre-marriage medical tests goes into effect

Ahram Online , Sunday 26 Feb 2023

An Egyptian presidential initiative that adds new medical tests to pre-marriage procedures, including tests for HIV and other infectious diseases, came into force on Sunday.

marriage in egypt
File Photo: A couple pose for their wedding video in the Egyptian capital Cairo. AFP


The newly-launched presidential initiative comes as part of the new personal status law that the state has prepared and includes a new pre-marriage medical screening certificate for the new tests with a QR code.

On the first day of the initiative’s launch, 1,653 persons underwent the new medical examinations, especially in Cairo, Giza, Sharqiya, Beheira, Sohag, Gharbia, and Menoufia, according to the Ministry of Health.

In December, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi spoke about the new pre-marriage medical procedures, saying marriages will have to be approved by a committee chaired by a judge after reviewing the automated examination results sent by the Ministry of Health.

El-Sisi said the new medical procedures aim to reassure the couples and their parents before marriage.

“It is the duty of the state to reassure parents about the future of their sons and daughters, and to ensure that those who wish to marry accept what the examinations reveal,” the president said while inaugurating two factories for medical and industrial gases in Giza's Abu Rawash district.

Medical examinations ahead of marriage has been compulsory in Egypt since 2008. However, the new certificate adds new obligatory tests for the couple, Spokesman of the Ministry of Health Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar told media on Saturday.

Applicants can call the hotline 15335 or visit the 100 Million Healthy Lives initiative's wesbsite to learn about the nearest health centre where they can undergo the pre-marriage tests, Abdel-Ghaffar added.

Here is what we know so far about the new certificate, according to information provided by the Ministry of Health:

  • Egyptian couples willing to get married must present the new medical certificate to the M’athoon (Islamic marriage official) or Coptic marriage official for their marriage to be officiated. This applies to those who have not undergone their medical examinations before 26 February
  • The certificate may be obtained from one of 302 official governmental health centres across the country and no certificate from a private centre will be accepted
  • The new medical checkup screens for a group of diseases, including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), Thalassemia, Sickle Cell Disease, RH factor blood test, Hemoglobin, Blood Sugar level, and Blood Type
  • Test results are released within 14 days and have an attached QR code to prevent fabrication
  •  The medical certificate will contain the results of the screened person and an informed declaration form indicating the informed knowledge of the other party of the results of the examinations.
  • The certificate is valid for 6 months after the date of the screening
  • The certificate will cost each of the applicants EGP 220 in total with the government bearing the remaining cost as the actual price for the certificate ranges from EGP 450-500.
  • Failure of marriage officiants to apply the new law will expose them to disciplinary accountability
  • The test results do not influence or hinder the marriage since the purpose of the screening is to ensure an informed decision for both parties
  • Should an applicant be afflicted with any of the aforementioned illnesses they will be treated in accordance with medical insurance or at the government’s cost.
  • The certified centres contain advisory rooms that offer medical consultation or advice for prospective couples.
  • The initiative aims to form a medical archive for Egyptian citizens and has been added to the national 100 Million Healthy Lives initiative archive to ease the provision of medical services to people.
  • Fabricating the medical certificate is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 10 years and the penalty for using a fabricated certificate is up to 3 years in prison.
  • Those who already obtained the old medical certificate can still marry within this week.
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