President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has instructed completing Egypt’s Universal Health Insurance System (UHIS) nationwide in 10 years instead of the scheduled 15-years, finance minister Mohamed Maait stated on Friday.
El-Sisi believes the project is one of the tools to reform the healthcare sector in Egypt, pointed out Maait, who is also head of the UHIS.
"The president is continuously asking about the availability and adequacy of financial allocations for the UHIS," Maait added.
The six-phase healthcare scheme, which started experimentally in Port Said governorate in early 2018, was scheduled to cover Egypt by 2032, but, based on Maait's announcement, the project will be now completed nationwide by 2027.
The first phase, which includes Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, South Sinai, Luxor, and Aswan, was due to take four years to complete, with an estimated cost of $510 million.
Governorates with the lowest-income citizens have been given priority in the programme’s schedule, with the capital Cairo relegated to the final phase.
Maait said the programme is expected to be rolled out in the rest of the governorates in the first phase this year.
The project will be supported by state-of-art automation technologies as part of the Digital Egypt strategy, a broader national plan targeting the digitisation of all government services countrywide.
The second phase of the scheme will include Luxor, Matrouh, the Red Sea, and Qena governorates.
The third phase will cover Alexandria, Beheira, Damietta, Sohag, and Kafr El-Sheikh.
The fourth will cover Beni Sf, Assiut, Minya, the New Valley, and Fayoum.
The fifth phase covers Daqahliya, Sharqiya, Gharbiya, and Menoufiya.
The last phase will cover Cairo, Giza, and Qalioubiya.
Over three million Egyptians have registered in the country's new healthcare insurance system in six governorates as of October 2020, the UHIS.
Egypt has been scaling up efforts to develop the healthcare infrastructure, including upgrading clinics and hospitals as well as constructing new health units nationwide.
The total cost of the new scheme is expected to hit EGP 210 billion ($13.38 billion) annually once the entire population, estimated in excess of 100 million citizens, registers in the new system.