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CAIRO - 3 June 2019: Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly directed officials to study making classes of medical schools’ students graduate exceptionally early to ease the shortage in physicians at public hospitals as well as increasing the numbers of students admitted.
The prime minister urged to conclude agreements with private medical schools as soon as possible to train their students in public hospitals. That is in addition to facilitating the establishment of more private medical schools and affiliated hospitals.
Egypt has 30 medical schools. Twenty of those are public. Three are private. One is affiliated to the Egyptian Armed Forces. Six are affiliated to Al Azhar. Moreover, the country is home to 33 dentistry schools, 43 pharmacology schools, and 15 physiotherapy schools.
The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research affirmed that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi asked for a reconsideration of the number of workers in the medical sector. The ministry revealed that the number of graduates of the abovementioned schools between 2014 and 2018 is 47,000. In April 2018, the government reduced the premed years to five years instead of six.
The ministry presented its plan in a meeting with the prime minister to expand in establishing public and non-public medical schools, raise the number of students admitted in physiotherapy schools over 10 years until the ideal number of needed graduates is reached, and introduce the “General Health” discipline concerned with planning and human resources programs.
In 2018, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) revealed that the public medical sector had by the end of 2016 103,337 physicians, 44,310 pharmacists, 20,544 dentists, and 187,090 nurses. On the other hand, the number of patients who benefited from the services of public hospitals and clinics is 13.6 million.
Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed told the parliament in December that more than 60 percent of Egyptian physicians work in Saudi Arabia while more than 50 percent of resident ones work in the private sector. Egyptian law allows physicians to work in both the private and public sectors. Also, physicians employed by the public sector can take unpaid leaves to work abroad. Low wages are the reason Egyptian physicians migrate.
The Egyptian Medical Syndicate estimates that the number of physicians who were not on unpaid leaves and were actually working in the public sector in 2016 is 80,000, as reported by Al Tahrir newspaper. The syndicate also reckons that the number of Egyptian physicians working in Saudi Arabia is 69,000.
Chairman of the Health Committee at the House of Representatives Mohamed al-Amary told Al Nabaa newspaper that the shortage in physicians has recorded 33 percent, while the shortage in nurses has hit 43 percent. The parliamentarian added that the ideal number of doctors per capita is one for each 300 to 500 citizens while the figure in Egypt is one per 1,330.
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