The Ministry of Health closed 12 psychiatric centres and rehabilitation facilities Wednesday for operating without licences and failing to comply with the regulations of the ministry’s Department for Psychiatric and Rehabilitation Centres.
Police reports were also filed against the doctors, who were running the centres without licences, in order to decrease the spread of such unlicenced institutions, according to the ministry.
The centres in question are all located in Cairo and Giza. The move comes after the Central Administration for Non-Governmental Therapeutic Institutions launched campaigns in Cairo against private psychiatric and rehabilitative institutions.
Ministry spokesman Hussam Abdel Ghaffar told Daily News Egypt that the centres in question do not provide quality services. He added that they are free to apply for licences provided their standards comply with guidelines provided by the Department for Psychiatric and Rehabilitation Centres.
When asked whether the state-affiliated centres are equipped to handle the number of patients, Abdel Ghaffar said: “Even if they do not, let’s suppose that they don’t, does that mean that we should allow people to provide bad service [to patients]?”
Abdel Ghaffar asserted the ministry is not against private health sector institutions, as he pointed that there are many others that operate well in Egypt and meet the required standards.
An employee at one of the closed centres, Al-Safwa, was reached for comment, and when asked whether it complies with regulations, told Daily News Egypt: “We do what we can. There are some things that do [comply], but some rules they have are impossible to achieve.”
The employee said the centre has applied for a licence, but is awaiting the completion of the legal procedures to do so. He added that the ministry is aware that their application is pending. He stated that it is impossible to prepare the place and have it ready for operation, and pay salaries without any income entering while awaiting the procedures.
He added that 35-40 people work at the centre. The employee said the centre offers help to people in desperate need of it, and that their success rate is 60%.
According to statistics from the National Centre for Battling Addictions in 2013, the percentage of substance abusers in Cairo increased from 6.4% to 30% in recent years.