Medical services in Egypt: Misery offered for Miserable People
Friday, 08 14 2015, Category: Health, Country: Egypt
Recently published images on doctors’ Facebook pages revealed the miserable condition of run-down government hospitals in Egypt. The situation appeared "farce", as stated by the Prime Minister himself during his recent visit to the Heart Institute. However, the experience of patients and doctors is much harsher than the pictures. Although poverty pushes most of the Egyptians to enter these hospitals, other poverty is waiting for them in there; echoed in the shortage of medical services and technical inability to treat the patient adequately.
Records of the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (in its report of December 2014) shows a slight evolution in medical services, as represented by the increase in the total number of hospitals between 2012 and 2013, from 1580 to 1610 (of which 657 government hospitals), plus a minor increase in the number of beds and emergency medical services. However, the readiness of the government hospitals is still limited, since one bed is available for every 2042 inhabitants; meaning that there is 1 bed for every 48 patients! This is regardless of the state of beds and the availability of bed sheets; as images reveal mattresses covered with blood stains. This means that these hospitals do not suffer only from the inability to provide acceptable medical services but more than that, they are providing a free infection!
"All will be held accountable!"
This is what the Prime Minister said after viewing the deteriorating conditions of service provided to patients, and went on, "we will make this place a success story!" Despite the claim that all will be held accountable, it seems that the major responsibility is being thrown on doctors; as if the problem will be fixed if they attend and leave according to the official schedule. The doctors’ union responded in a statement entitled "Do not deceive people", stating that "The real reform steps for the healthcare system begin by raising the health budget, stopping wastage, repairing the emergency departments, and providing intensive care beds and nurseries, as well as through providing good opportunities for postgraduate studies for physicians and developing a plan for continuing education in all disciplines". And it ended its statement by thanking thousands of doctors who save the lives of patients in both materially and morally unjust conditions.
Despite the overpopulation in Egypt, the problems of the healthcare sector are not limited to the lack of material resources only, but equally human resources. There is only one nurse for every 670 inhabitants and one doctor for every 1179 inhabitants.
Health insurance hospitals represent another problem of the healthcare system in Egypt, covering only 50 percent of the Egyptian people according to the General Authority for Health Insurance statistics; who are mostly state employees and students of schools and universities. This means that insurance is not reaching the most vulnerable, represented by the workers of the private sector and the informal sector and the unemployed. Health insurance derives its funding from the insureds’ subscriptions and does not have any capital in the state budget. Although these services are paid, they are not much better than those provided in government and public hospitals. So these hospitals have mainly become a refuge for chronic diseases patients.
In contrast, private hospitals represent a completely different image; offering high quality services. However, only rich people benefit from them.
Source: Al Safir Al Arabi