CAIRO: Health Minister Hatem El-Gabaly says that the passing of a controversial draft law that if approved will radically shake up Egypt’s healthcare system is to be “postponed for further discussion.
According to official news portal egynews.net, El-Gabaly told a seminar on health policy in Egypt held Monday evening at the Opera House that implementation of the health insurance system outlined under the draft law requires LE 17 billion.
The health minister acknowledged that various stakeholders “desire that the draft law be discussed further before it completes its passage through parliament.
Political parties and rights activists had reacted angrily in January this year to claims made by El-Gabaly during an appearance on a satellite TV program that there exists no real opposition to the draft law.
Plans for a radical shakeup of Egypt’s health insurance system were set in motion four years ago. From the outset health activists have warned that the plans – which will require health insurance beneficiaries to pay a percentage cost of treatment received in hospital as well as a percentage of the cost of medicines – may render treatment out of reach for many Egyptians.
While we welcome the government s initiative to extend health insurance to all its nationals, we re very pleased that the government has decided to postpone introducing the draft before a proper stakeholders consultation takes place, said Soha Abdelaty, deputy director of The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
We had many concerns about the draft that was circulated in the media, and which we have voiced and hope that a new draft would accommodate these concerns. Additionally, such a project will not succeed unless the government increases its financial allocations to the health sector, she added.