CAIRO: No matter what the circumstances are, everyone will be treated at the expense of the government, said Dr. Mohammed Abdeen, general manager of the Medical Councils at the Ministry of Health and also a professor at Cairo University to Daily News Egypt on a visit to the ministry Tuesday morning.
In order for a citizen to benefit from this free medical treatment several transactions need to be completed. The patient is first obliged to fill out a form with basic information like name, age, gender and job description. Attached to this form must be a medical report issued by the government.
A picture of the patient is also needed. If this is unavailable, a picture of the patient s father must be submitted.
Cairo residents then need a permission slip from the Ministry of Health. However, for citizens living in other governorates, a permission slip from the Medical Councils located in their specific governorate is required.
The Medical Councils then send all this information to the Ministry of Health for approval via the internet, after which the patient is to start receiving the required treatment within 48 hours. However, this process is sometimes delayed, according to Abdeen, because of problems with internet connections.
The DSL is never working and therefore they cannot send over the information, he said.
Another problem that takes up a lot of time and effort on our part is the inability of Cairo residents to believe that every single applicant will receive treatment. This is why they come to my office and meet me in person, which is time-consuming, he added.
When I sign these forms that are presented to me at my office, I do not know anything about the patient – his name, age or even gender, all I know is that this is someone who needs treatment.
Abdeen said that about 5,000-7,000 patients are treated across the country everyday, which means around 1.5 million annually.
If all these people come to my office themselves we will not be able to get any work done, I personally wish that the ones who visit us are the ones that had trouble in receiving their treatment or the ones that need to travel abroad owing to the fact that they require different procedures.
However, Abdeen added that not a lot of people are sent abroad because everything is available here in Egypt now. Last year, out of all the applicants only 68 were sent abroad.
Reasons behind this expense free treatment are partly to encourage the decentralization of power. The ministry doesn t have to carry out all the needed transactions; it leaves these duties up to the Medical Councils in all the different governorates.
Dr. Abdullah Kadah undersecretary of Curative Care in the Ministry of Health told Daily News Egypt that the ministry now only gives hospitals or medical centers the general policies and guidelines to work by, they also regulate and monitor the process by which they carry out these policies. Besides this, however, the government has nothing to do with it, they can sell the hospital to a drug dealer for all we care, said Dr. Abdullah.