4000 hospitals, medical units 'expired': Egyptian health minister

Ahram Online, Monday 21 Jan 2013

Egypt's Health Minister admits that hundreds of hospitals in Egypt and thousands of medical units are not adequate for providing services

Patient room at a public hospital in Egypt (Photo: courtesy of the hospital's doctors)

Around 200 hospitals and 3800 medical units are said to have expired and are inadequate for medical services, says Minister of Health and Population Mohamed Mostafa.

Mostafa told Al-Ahram Arabic-language daily that public hospitals in Egypt do not lack potential, however it is suffering from misuse.

“Seventy hospitals will be renovated and reconstructed by the year 2013 and 2014 in Sohag and Qena in Upper Egypt,” Mostafa promised.

Most of the problems stem from run-down infrastructure, claims the minister.

Low salaries have also led to doctors to seek employment outside Egypt, or avoid working in particular medical fields, he adds.

Public hospitals also suffer from a shortage of doctors, pointing out that some medical units in Sohag, Qena and Assiut have no doctors at all.

“The ministry [of health] is severely suffering from carelessness regarding the maintenance of its medical devices.

Egypt's 2012-2013 health budget is estimated at LE27.414 billion ($4.5 billion), comprising five per cent of the state budget. Funds allocated to health have increased 18 per cent over last year.

In October, Egypt’s doctors went on a partial strike to demand an increase in health spending to 15 per cent of the state budget, better healthcare standards, improved security at hospitals and wage increases.

The temporary general assembly of Egypt's Doctors' syndicate, however, decided to postpone the strike until March, when elections for a new general assembly will be held.

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