National project for the poor

Emad El-Sayed
9 Min Read
Emad El-Sayed
Emad El-Sayed
Emad El-Sayed

Ideas are endless; the important thing is that they are followed by a political will to execute them, and perhaps the most important thing is that the decision-makers think about national projects targeting the poor, who are burdened by the weight of years of oppression, poverty, disease and ignorance

It is time to target this segment with a prompt national project that will achieve results the moment it is announced. There are many ideas that can be implemented with minimal effort or trouble.

In the health field, the numbers say that 25% of the Egyptian people are suffering from chronic diseases, the most prominent of which is hepatitis-C, as a result of corruption and negligence in the fields of both health and food in Egypt since the 1970s. This segment numbers between eight and 10 million citizens, who require treatment. What if the state decides that this year will be the year to defeat the disease and its causes? Meaning that the state would deduct enough of the general budget to treat all hepatitis-C patients, as well as eliminating its causes: food contamination, water, etc. I believe that this is much better than wasting the public funds on projects of no use.

The same can be applied on other diseases that the low-income segments suffer from, like diabetes patients who are estimated at five to seven million, or heart patients who increase by 250,000 patients per year, or patients with kidney failure who are around three million citizens, or the victims of contaminated water due to decades of corruption.

I do not see any difficulty in that proposal, but rather it is an added value in itself to the country’s economy.

Firstly, because the recovery positively affects the number of working hours and level of proficiency.

Secondly, because the recovery removes the burden of the increasing cost of the disease from the shoulder of the state; a cost that does not lead to the desired outcome, as a result of the deterioration in health services.

Thirdly, because the scientific research during this period may put Egypt on the road of important discoveries in the field of fighting chronic diseases, which also has a positive economic social impact.

And fourthly, in the journey of seeking full recovery, awareness increases, and the treatment myths are put to rest. Consequently, we can stop the excessive increase in the number of patients who continue to join the current lists. The estimated increases on these lists amounts to one million patients annually, joining the ranks of the patients who need healthcare the most.

I remember that Dr. Magdi Yacoub, the most famous heart surgeon in the world, told us once that each pound spent now onscientific research saves EGP 100,000 in 20 years.

So, it is a simple equation: whether to spend one pound now or to be forced to spend EGP 100,000 in the future for the same thing.

I think that whatever the cost is, it would be less than the cost of the spread and the persistence of the disease.

The visits of the Prime Minister and the executive officials to hospitals and therapeutic institutions revealed how pervasive the negligence is, and I do not mean the negligence of the doctors or those who are responsible for these institutions only, but the state’s negligence of this sector, which should be, next to education, on the top of its priorities, if there is a sincere intention to uplift the country.

Regarding education, do you see how education is in Egypt now, and how large the levels of disparity are between the education levels in our schools with their different categories: normal, experimental, experimental language, private Arabic, and private language, until reaching the international schools?

Perhaps we can observe the level of disparity between the students’ due to this diversity in schools. What if there is a national plan to improve the governmental schools and put them at the same level with the international schools regarding the teaching system, curricula, qualification of the teachers, encouraging the students and their families, taking care on the outstanding students, and exploring the talents, developing them, and looking for the best way to use the capabilities of each student.

I know that it is a big issue that needs more effort and a higher qualification for all parties of the education process. It also requires experimental alternatives to reach the best model that can be executed. I believe that this suggestion needs to be subjected to experimentation in an area or governorate, and after finding the ideal model that the education process should follow, we would have a comprehensive perception of the real cost and the time needed for execution. Then, we would avoid burdening ourselves by spending hundredfold of what would be spent now, if we execute ambitious plans to raise the standards of education and health now.

Our country’s future should not only depend on planning for the next generations without paying attention to the rights of the current generation, in order for us to feel a revolutionary positive change in our lives.  One of the former ministers told me that 30% of the government’s plans should be for the future, while 70% should aim at resolving current problems and crises in all fields.

It is our right to feel, touch and live with projects whose outcomes can be seen in one or two years at most, so that we can live and interact with the dreams of the future. Perhaps the country expects a lot from the New Suez Canal, but it will definitely witness many international changes. If all variables remain unchanged before 2023, we will not get what we have been promised from it.

The case is the same regarding the new administrative capital, if it is implemented. On the other hand, if Egypt manages to implement the one-million-unit project, it will have a positive impact on people and will push them to participate, whether physically or emotionally, in future mega-projects.

What people need now is to feel the tangible reality in order to participate in building the future. People need quick solutions for unemployment, illness, and illiteracy, so that they become aware of the importance of planning for the future.

The people have suffered a lot and dreamt a lot, and until now they have not been given anything. Thus, they are in dire need to witness a positive change towards resolving their crises, as well as a radical realistic solution for even a single problem, under the name “National Project”. The project will resolve everything from unemployment, to patient treatment, or the improvement of the educational environment. The most important thing is that people need to feel that they are among the priorities of those in authority.

Emad El-Sayed is an Egyptian journalist and the Editor of Daily News Egypt.

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Emad El-Sayed is the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily News Egypt
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