Minister of Health - Ahmed Emad El-Din Rady - File photo
CAIRO – 12 November 2017: The Ministry of Health and Population, represented by the basic care sector, announced the establishment and development of 73 primary care units in the governorates of Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, South and North Sinai within the 2017/2018 investment plan.
This comes as a first step towards implementing the new comprehensive health insurance law.
Nahla Rushdi, head of the Central Administration for Primary Care, said that the plan includes the establishment of 18 new units in the abovementioned five governorates. The plan also includes the replacement and development of 28 units, in addition to the processing of 27 other primary care units; noting that these units will be the first line of defense for the new comprehensive health insurance system.
For his part, Khaled Megahed, the official spokesman of the Ministry of Health and Population, said that a training program was prepared to include all medical staff working in primary care facilities; in addition to contracting doctors from various disciplines to cover the deficit. He pointed out that all centers will provide services for child vaccinations and follow-up growth development and that holistic services will be provided to women including pre-natal follow-ups, birth, family planning and reproductive health.
He added that the services provided in the primary health care units will also include dealing with emergencies and urgent cases, as well as performing minor surgeries. It also provides public health services such as resistance to communicable diseases and vector diseases, health services that span from birth to death, and include surveillance and dental services.
Furthermore, preventive, therapeutic, and diagnostic radiology services, sonar, cardiology and analysis will also be available; in addition to the availability of specialists in pediatrics and gynecology.
According to the new health insurance law, the government will fully cover health expenses for those who are unable to pay for their medical treatment. They form 30 percent of Egypt's population, Megahed stated.
"The system will be applied gradually between 2018 and 2032," said Hegazy. He added that around 42 million citizens do not benefit from any health insurance services.
The current budget for this insurance has reached LE 8 billion annually, according to Hegazy; however, covering the appropriate services in accordance with international standards would require LE 90 million annually.
Employees will be obliged to subscribe to the new health insurance system. It will cost between LE 1,300 and 4,000 per year, depending on the income. However, citizens who cannot afford the fees will be exempted from paying any subscription fees.
The current insurance system covers only about 60 percent of citizens, where each one pays only LE 112. However, due to its poor quality, only six percent of citizens use its services.
Megahed pointed out that Egypt has been working for over two years to prepare the infrastructure of the state-owned hospitals in preparation for the new health insurance program. The new program will cover all members in a family and will be provided to all citizens. "The new health insurance program covers all diseases," said Megahed.
Hegazy stated that the new program will be funded through the taxes imposed on cigarettes and tobacco, along with other items and other funding sources. "The new program will be introduced with high efficiency. It will also end the high costs of the medical services that are provided by the private sector," said Hegazy.
According to Hegazy, all private hospitals will have to adhere to the prices set by the government. The bill was drafted by 22 health insurance officials, bankers, and academic physicians. It has been under progress for the past six years.
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