Egypt suffers from very high dependency ratio, overpopulation: Health Minister



Tue, 05 Sep 2023 - 01:24 GMT


Tue, 05 Sep 2023 - 01:24 GMT

Press Photo

Press Photo

CAIRO – 5 September 2023: In the past few years, the size of the Egyptian population spiked by 40 million, which represented a challenge to development, especially that the infrastructure and utilities had been the same, Minister of Health and Population Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said Tuesday.


The minister's statement came during the opening session of the first edition of the Global Congress for Population, Health, and Development hosted in the New Administrative Capital on September 5-8.


Comparing Egypt with Iran, which implemented a population project, and Turkey, the population in each would be increasing, between 2040 and 2050, by 17 million, one million, and three million, respectively, Minister Abdel Ghaffar pointed out.


"What’s more important than the population size, is its characteristics. If the citizens are educated and qualified, they will be productive," the minister stressed, showcasing that the dependency ratio is 65 to 100 and that 80 percent of dependent individuals are adults.


"We need to discourage citizens from marrying very young, encourage them to postpone pregnancy, put an end to the phenomenon of dropping out of school, as well as create jobs in the manufacturing sector and not just the service one in order to fulfill local needs," Minister Abdel Ghaffar asserted.


The minister underlined that every pound the government spends on family planning saves LE151.7. The breakdown is LE74.1 in education, LE32.9 in healthcare, LE28 in housing, and LE16.7 in food susbsidies. 


On her side, Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala al-Said stated that Egypt spent LE18 billion in 2023 to maintain classroom crowdedness at 48 students instead of investing in education quality. "That would not happen, if the population growth was reasonable," she added.  


In a related context, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Ahmed al-Mandhari highlighted that public health is bound to social factors and not just the healthcare system.


For instance, Mandhari stated that 600 mothers die for every 100,000 babies born in Eastern Mediterranean countries, while the rate in other countries is 3 mothers for the same number of babies.



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