Cairo: 21/9/2008

Press release
Shadow of the Shade
Medical Units in Egypt

Today on 21st September 2008, Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue (FDHRD) is issuing its report “ Shadow of the Shade.. Medical Units in Egypt” . This report is on the results of the works of the fact finding mission sent by FDHRD aiming at monitoring the situation in the medical units in the governorate of North Helwan which was previously known as the governorate of South Cairo. This area included the medical units of El Maadi, Kotisika, El Ma’sara, First Helwan, Second Helwan, Atlas buildings, First 15h May and Second 15th May.

The outcomes of the works of fact finding mission included the opinions of and a survey on 450 citizens who are clients of the medical units as follows:
  1. 86% of those who go to the medical units do not have any other options because they need to take vaccination or because the fees there are low. A lot of clients of the medical units said that although the medical services in the medical units are very poor, the fees they pay there are very low and that is why they go to such medical units. 86% of those who go to the medical units do not have any other options because they need to take vaccination or because the fees there are very low. 280 individuals who are met by the mission affirmed that the fees in the medical units are very low as it ranges from one pound to three pounds only and therefore they do not care about the quality of the services since they do not pay a lot of money. 24% of the clients of the medical units said that they have to go there to receive vaccinations for their children or to go to Hig or Omrah. 13% of the clients said that they go to the medical units because they are very close to the places where they live.
  2. The medical units are used as an experiment field for the newly graduated doctors: The team work observed that a lot of citizens stated the doctors who are working in the medical units are newly graduated doctors and they are not specialists and that is why the clients do not care about the quality of the services and they go there only in the cases of emergencies.
  3. There is no free medication in the medical units: A lot of those who are clients of the medical units said there are no free medications there and sometimes they have to buy some supplies from outside the unit on their own expenses because there are lack of such supplies in the unit.
  4. Vaccinations are available but clients have to buy the supplies for the use of such vaccinations from outside the unit. A lot of citizens affirmed that a lot of those who are clients of the medical units said vaccinations are available but you have to buy the supplies for the use of such vaccinations from outside the unit.
  5. There are shortage in doctors and nurses in comparison with the number of clients who visit the medical units: There are shortage in doctors and nurses in comparison with the number of clients who visit the medical units.
  6. 80% of the clients are not satisfied with the level of cleaning in the local units. Although cleaning is one of the indicators of good medical service, 360 citizens said they are not satisfied with the level of cleaning in the medical units while 20% of the citizens said that the level of cleaning is fair.
  7. 73% of the clients affirmed that the medical units lack equipments and tools. 330 citizens affirmed that the equipments and tools existing in the medical units are very few and not enough in numbers. 15% of the clients affirmed that there are lack of medical tools and equipments.
  8. 68% of the clients affirmed that they are not treated very well when they go to the medical units to receive medical treatment: 310 citizens said they are not satisfied with the way they are treated in the medical units while 60% said that they are treated in an acceptable way.
At the end of the study, FDHRD recommended the following:
  1. The Egyptian government shall reconsider its policies in appointing doctors in the medical units in the poor areas and they shall appoint specialized and experienced doctors.
  2. The Ministry of Health shall conduct inspection operations and sudden visits to the medical units.
  3. The Ministry of Health shall provide a series of trainings to the workers in the medical units in order to raise the skills and capabilities in the field of providing specialized medical services.
  4. The Egyptian government shall work on raising the medical care budget in its public budget to reach 8% of the budget of the State instead of 2% of the budget.
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