Acting Minister of Health and Population Khaled Abdel Ghafar announced on Wednesday during the annual Iftar held by the American Chamber of Commerce that Egypt’s vaccination rates have significantly increased, adding that 54.8% of its population have received three doses of the antiviral vaccine.

He also said that Egypt has gone through difficult circumstances during the past two years in dealing with the coronavirus crisis and was able to strike a balance between the health of citizens, containing the spread of the virus, and maintaining the rotation of the wheel of production and economic activity, adding that infections have reached their lowest rates over the past few days after the country went through five waves of the pandemic.

Furthermore, Abdel Ghaffar stressed that the health sector in Egypt is diverse and somewhat complex, as there are private sector hospitals, government hospitals, university hospitals, and civil society hospitals, affirming that they are all capable of meeting the needs of the population.

He also pointed out that 85% of the drugs supplied in Egypt are produced through Egyptian companies, and that the market did not witness any shortages of drugs in recent memory.

The minister added that the Decent Life Presidential Initiative that was launched by the state reflected positively on the health sector, stressing that a million citizens who were on waiting lists were treated, and that Egypt is one of the countries that have dealt well with the Hepatitis-C virus, pointing out that EGP 10bn were allocated to perform 1.1m surgeries.

Additionally, Abdel Ghaffar said that the health insurance system implemented by the state will be completed definitively within 15 years, which is significant given that some countries take about 50 years to complete such an endeavour.

He also said that the health sector has witnessed many reforms during the past period that would encourage the private sector and foreign investors to invest in it, explaining that Egypt has more than 100m citizens and that it has a population growth rate of 2.5% annually, which encourages the establishment of projects that provide health services.

Moreover, the minister pointed out that Egypt has increased the investments allocated to the health sector by 300% since FY2013/14, adding that despite this, Egypt has low rates of hospital beds per capita, reaching 1.4 beds per 1,000 citizens, while the global average is 2.7 to 5 beds per citizen, and that Japan boasts 10 beds per citizen.

Furthermore, he noted that Egyptians spend about $1bn on the medical sector, which means that there are many opportunities available to the private sector and investors, starting with hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and radiology centres, explaining that the government cannot fill the current gap in the health sector alone.

He also revealed that a study is being conducted on the possibility of cooperating with partners from the private sector to operate and manage some public hospitals, such as Heliopolis Hospital, adding that some famous public hospitals, such as the Coptic Hospital and Agouza Hospital, are incurring great losses despite the great potentials that they have.

For his part, Tarek Tawfik — President of the American Chamber in Cairo — said that the demand for health services is rising in light of the high rates of population increase, and the population is expected to reach 130 million people over the next few years, calling on regional and international investors to consider investing in this vital sector.

© 2022 Daily News Egypt. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (