Egypt’s budget for healthcare sector continuously on the rise: Finance minister

Rasha Sadek , Saturday 16 Oct 2021

The government is continuously increasing the budget of the healthcare sector, said Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait on Saturday.

Al-Ahram Pharmaceutical Conference (APHC)
Al-Ahram Pharmaceutical Conference (APHC),

Maait made his statement during the second edition of Al-Ahram Pharmaceutical Conference (APHC), held on 16 and 17 October.

Allocations for children’s drugs and milk formulas increased by 43 per cent in 2021/22 on the year before and support for health insurance programmes has been raised by EGP 1.2 billion, he said.

Maait reiterated the words of President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi during the UN meeting on comprehensive healthcare in 2019, saying that governments and development partners should work on finding quick and sufficient solutions to boost healthcare services, being a human right essential for creating a decent life.

Comprehensive healthcare can only be achieved when access to medicines and healthcare technological advances is granted, he added. Countries and international institutions should form alliances to make available safe and effective medicines for all peoples, Maait said. Ensuring better health conditions is one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and is in line with Egypt’s Vision 2030, he added.

The coronavirus pandemic has proven the need for solid and flexible healthcare systems to endure economic downturns, the minister stated, noting that the latest international developments showed that drug manufacturing is key to countries’ national security.

The two-day conference, with a total of nine sessions, is discussing the means to localise the drug industry in Egypt and provide practical solutions to its problems.

As per Article 18 of the 2014 constitution, every citizen has the right to access quality healthcare. The state should maintain public health services and establish a comprehensive health insurance system for all Egyptians, Maait pointed out.

The finance minister stressed that in March 2020, following the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, EGP 100 billion – or two per cent of GDP – were allocated to alleviate the repercussions of the pandemic, some EGP 16.5 billion of which were dedicated to the healthcare sector.

The rest were directed to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the most affected sectors and the most vulnerable groups, he added.

In 2021/22 the budget stood at EGP 275.6 billion, up by EGP 17.1 billion or 1.4 percent on the year before. The increase recorded was higher than that stated in the constitution, Maait said. In 2020/21 the healthcare sector’s budget increased by 24.3 percent on 2019/20.

Investments in the Egyptian healthcare sector recorded EGP 26.4 billion, or 24.3 percent of the total spent on the sector, he added.

The APHC sheds light on the universal health insurance system as well as the future of pharmaceutical exports and the digitisation of the healthcare sector to support Egypt as a regional hub for the pharmaceutical industry.

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