Egypt's health ministry broadens eligibility criteria for subsidised baby formula

Ahram Online , Sunday 4 Sep 2016

Egypt’s health minister Ahmed Emad El-Din
Egypt’s health minister Ahmed Emad El-Din (Al-Ahram)

Egypt's health ministry has broadened the criteria for those eligible to receive subsidised baby formula amid a severe market shortage in baby milk that prompted protests last week, Ahram Arabic news website reported.

The new criteria includes 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 current regulations, imposed three months ago, the death of the mother or the birth of triplets had been the only conditions under which citizens are eligible to receive the subsidised formula.

Dozens of Egyptian mothers blocked a major Cairo road last week while carrying their crying babies to protest the shortage.

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.

On Saturday, the army said it will start importing and selling baby formula at less than market value; at EGP 30 (around $3.4) instead of the current black market price of EGP 60 (around $6.8).

The state-run Egyptian Pharmaceutical Trading Company said 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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