EOHR suggests forming a committee of experts to reform the health system in Egypt

July 28th, 2010 by Editor

At the end of  a seminar entitled” Treatment at the State’s expense” which was held by EOHR on 26/7/2010, human rights activists, member of parliament and members of the Committee for the Defense of the Right to Health called for forming a committee of experts to reform the health system in Egypt, especially in light of the high rates of financial and administrative corruption that come upon this system, starting from the health insurance system, through the deterioration of health services provided to citizens and the huge irregularities which come upon treatment system at stat’s expense. They called for bringing up a bill for health insurance for all citizens as an alternative to the governmental bill. Also to bring up policies and strategies to fulfill the enjoyment of citizens with high level of health and medical services in the framework of the principles set by the World Health Organization. They confirmed the importance to combat corruption in the health sector and to issue such laws which oblige officials to apply decisions related to treatment at state’s expense.

Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, chairman of EOHR,  confirmed that  the right of citizens to the highest attainable standard of healthcare is in a clear deterioration and has increased in recent years. Also  the right to heath considers one of the fundamental rights which the states intend to provide it to citizens without discrimination or delay as this right is related to another right which is the right to life. He pointed out that the concept of health changed from “the right for all” to a “commercial good” subject to sale and purchase, namely who are able to pay, this is besides decreasing the state’s investments in the health sector and releasing the hand of private section which most of Egyptians are not able to afford the cost of it and the unavailability of the treatment at the expense of the state and the crowd inside the public hospitals.

Abu Seada  disclosed the financial and administrative corruption in the health sector confirming  that according to reports of international transparency organization Egypt occupied 72 rank in the black list for corruption, reports confirm that Egypt spend less than 5% of national income on health , and reports reveal the existence of a close relationship between financial and administrative corruption and health care in many developing countries, including Egypt.

Abu Seada stressed that some officials in the ministry of health caused the collapse in
the system of treatment at the expense of the state, and changed the ministry of health to be a ” large chamber of commerce” aiming at fulfilling profits the matter which corrupted the system of health in Egypt  and the health sector changed from such a sector that serve people to a sector that traffic with Egyptians, he added that corruption spreads not only in the public sector but in the private sector as well.  

Abu Seada indicated to the weakness of the financial allocations for the health sector, as the State expenditure  doesn’t exceed 3.8% from  the governmental  expenditure and 7% of the state general balance, while the WHO recommends that the  spending has to 10% of national income and 5% of governmental  expenditure.

Dr. Samir Fayad, vice-president of Al Tagamou  party, former President of the therapeutic Foundation in Cairo, clarified that there are about eight or nine thousand treatment decisions at the expense of the state. These decisions cost  more than six million pounds in favor of nine thousand citizens. The Ministry of Health pays 1.8 million pounds in one day for Alantrfen medicine for liver patients, one million pounds for open heart operations, 1.3 million pounds for dialysis for more than 130 thousand patients per day and another million pounds for chemotherapy for cancer patients, the matter which costs the public treasury about 4 billions a year as it consists on third the health’s budget.

Fayad has confirmed that the right to heath is consider one of the fundamental rights that should be available to all citizens. The insurance heath system considers one of the priorities for all citizens. He emphasized that if we could establish the bill of health insurance, we will achieve a significant progress. He added that this system should be for the beneficent of poor sections and near to poverty which represent 40% of  the population. The state should also ensures two conditions, the first: ensuring a fund increased to  the public  average of the state’s expenditures which is 8% of  the gross national product ( GNP), second: reducing expenditures of citizen as it should not increase more than on third  of total expenditure.

Dr. Hamdy Hassan, member of parliament, confirmed that the right of citizens to obtain treatment is a constitutional right, but the real life indicates the opposite, this right is stolen. He described the prime minister decree as disaster as it transfers the health insurance to a holding company.

Hamdy Hassan indicated that corruption in the health sector is a part of  the corruption in the political system like the corruption which happened in the new cities like Madinaty and other projects, until it extended to the ministerial level and members of parliament. This confirms the failure of policies in Egypt. He stressed on the importance of respecting every official to the public interest.

The member of the parliament has handled the treatment of the members at state’s expense. He indicated that according to the declared statement, there are 35 suspects in this case, 15 suspects only will be trialed. He wondered about the rest of them and the truth about their accusations. Hamed Hassan  confirmed that the Ministry of Health specializes 320 million pounds of treatment at state’s expense for ( heart operations-Orthopedics surgeries-orthopedics’ pins and accessories), whereas we hear that one of the members has stolen 360 million pounds within 6 months, besides the ministry of health organizes a free medical trains and allocated high amount of money, however, these trains are for specific categories not for deserved people, the matter which disclose the magnitude of corruption.

Dr. Mohamed Hassan Khalil, chairman of national committee to defense the right to health, confirmed that corruption befalls the health sector, public and private branches, is mismanagement of resources, wasting the potentials and some of the health sector’s officials exploit the governmental properties and sell it for private interests, besides the public tenders, bribes and commissions, ruining the equipments used in diagnosis, increases the expenses of the health services provided to the citizens. He clarified that Ministry of Health intended to reduce the number of beds to 12 thousand beds on the plea of the weakness of the service and closing fever hospital under the crisis of the spread of epidemic. He stressed on these policies aimed to transfer the treatment at the state’s expense to health insurance treatment.  He condemned the scenario of the crisis of the treating the members at the state’s expense, he is asking about how was the number of members  was 4 at the beginning of the crisis then increased to 7 then 15 until it reached 35 members, he was also asking how these member belongs to the national democratic party, them Muslim brother hood. Then the opposite party. He added that before we ask the members, we should ask the Prime Minster.

Khalili has discovered the reduction of expenses on health and services. Total health expenses 1981-1999 is less than 3%from the governmental expenditure minimum limit 1.7% in 91-92 and more than 3% since 1999 until 2005 with maximum limit 3.8% during the last years.

Essam Sheha, lawyer at Court of Cassation, member of the Supreme Committee of El Wafd party, has confirmed that transferring Therapeutic Corporation to economical authority is a matter which denies the right of the citizen to health. He called the attorney general on transferring the suspected members in the treatment case at the state’s expenses to a fair trial if they were proofed guilty. He clarified that the treatment decisions instead of being used by poor citizens, have used in the plastic and hair transportation surgeries.

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