As a developing country with vast human resources and a rapidly-growing economy, reforming Egypt's health care sector is a top priority for the national social development agenda.
This sector had not been overlooked, even before the Egyptian revolution took place in early 2011, there was a concrete governmental vision for a healthcare system in 2025. Today, the current political situation confronting Egypt as it weaves its new future poses numerous challenges on many fronts, most important of which is mobilizing more economic resources for developing our human assets. Therefore, it is only natural that such a vision for health enhancement will gain more traction and becomes a paramount pillar guiding the process of the needed health care reform to build upon achieved past successes, while working to address upcoming challenges.
Ten work streams already demonstrate the defined dimensions of the Egyptian health reform program, the most crucial of which include providing high quality care through financially-sustainable health insurance, spreading the coverage of primary care services, enhancing family planning services at a national level, institutionalizing and strengthening consumer protection, in addition to encouraging public-private partnerships.
Overall, Egypt's health indicators have improved significantly since 1960, with a health profile that is increasingly similar to developed countries. This continuous improvement in all aspects of public health in Egypt has indeed been internationally recognized. Some of the prominent successful initiatives include the progress made on the health-related Millennium Development Goals, mandatory immunization that eradicated Poliomyelitis in Egypt, the setting up of an Egyptian national program to combat tuberculosis, developing a national program for prevention and control of Viral Hepatitis B/C, and the near eradication of Bilharziasis. All of the aforementioned initiatives are provided at no cost to all Egyptians, thus uniquely embracing the concept of equity as a guiding principle in healthcare services provision.
However, still concurrent with these successes, the spread of non-communicable diseases remains prevalent, most notably cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic respiratory diseases. In response, Egypt has embraced the WHO Strategy and Action Plan to control and prevent these illnesses. Several initiatives were, in fact, launched in this regard at no cost to all Egyptians, including--but not limited to--the Children's Cancer Hospital "57357", the National Breast Cancer Screening Programme, the National Hepatitis Campaign, and the National School Feeding Program. This, while also running multiple campaigns to promote increased awareness of these common diseases that have inflicted Egyptian society.
A noteworthy establishment is the Regional Centre for Women's Health and Development in Alexandria, with a primary responsibility to focus on research aimed at improving women's health. This encompasses creating and building databases for collaboration at the community, national, regional and international levels; along with the dissemination of information and the creation of model clinics among others. In addition, one of the priorities is to map out outreach programs through mobile clinics and awareness campaigns, which touch on various aspects of women's health, especially with regard to the prevention and early detection of diseases like cancer.
The successes of Egypt's health reform program are numerous, such that it has positively contributed towards the social and economic development for all Egyptians throughout the years. This has manifested itself in longer life expectancy, higher productivity and even trickling down to increased household income. More deliverables in the health sector are certainly what the new, post-revolution Egypt will remain vigilant in pursuing in the upcoming period, as we strive to advance the community's well being through continued extensive reforms in this crucial sector.