Egypt’s health minister Hala Zayed during a meeting with the head of Medical Syndicate Hussein Khairy on Sunday in Cairo, 31 May 2020 (Photo courtesy of the Health Ministry official Facebook page)
The Egyptian Medical Syndicate (EMS) said in a statement on Sunday that Health Minister Hala Zayed and the head of the EMS Dr Hussein Khairy agreed on opening a 24-hour channel of communication between them, so that the problems facing medical teams can be solved directly.
The health minister met on Sunday with the head of the EMS at the headquarters of the ministry to address the problems and challenges facing Egypt’s medical teams amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Khairy reiterated all the former demands of the syndicate and the state’s duty to protect medical teams so that they can continue to carry out their mission.
The EMS said that Zayed stressed during the meeting the keenness of the ministry and state agencies on implementing the required measures to protect medical teams.
The health ministry said in a statement on Sunday that Zayed asserted during the meeting that all required precautionary measures are being taken to protect the medical teams from infection.
Minister Zayed said that the state will support the medical teams by establishing a fund for work hazards, and that the medical professions allowance has been raised to 75 percent. She added that the ministry is currently studying raising the retirement age to 62.
The minister also said that all medics undergo periodic rapid testing when they enter the hospital to start their work, as well as upon their discharge from the hospital.
She added that the ministry performs PCR tests for any medics who show COVID-19 symptoms while performing their work. The minister indicated that so far over 10,000 PCR tests have been performed on medical teams since the outbreak of the virus in Egypt.
According to Zayed, 20 beds in each isolation hospital have been allocated to infected medical staff.
The health minister expressed her appreciation for all the efforts exerted by the medical teams in dealing with the pandemic.
Over 330 doctors in Egypt have been infected by the coronavirus so far according to the EMS, and 26 doctors have died from the virus.
Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said on Thursday that Egyptian doctors who die from the coronavirus are treated as martyrs, and the financial compensations to the doctors' families will be handled by the Fund of Medical Professions, which was announced by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in late March.
The death of Dr Walid Abdel-Halim, a 32-year-old doctor who worked at El-Munira General Hospital and passed away from the virus last week, has stirred uproar among doctors across social media platforms, with many accusing the Ministry of Health of ignoring the requests of medical staff.
In a statement on Monday, the EMS 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 in protecting them.”
The EMS presented several demands to the government concerning the safety of medical teams in hospitals after the spread of the virus among the medical staff in the past few weeks.