In 2014, 594 cases of corruption in medical care were filed, according to the Administrative Prosecution’s (AP) annual report on public health sector corruption, published on Saturday.
The report reviewed investigation results by the prosecution over the past year which showed absence of medical intervention in numerous cases; non-commitment from doctors and nurses to work hours and shifts; refusing to receive new cases despite emergencies, lack of hygiene and infection safety, financial corruption in terms of receiving medical treatment on the state’s expenses that reached up to EGP 253.740m.
Mohamed Samir, Administrative Prosecution spokesperson said “these numbers are huge if we consider the threat of those crimes and its impact on patient lives”.
“Many other cases died out of medical negligence which is the most crucial sector and also most influential on people’s lives,” he added.
The prosecution highlighted 10 cases of negligence which took place in 2014, in full details. According to the report, 1,350 spoiled sacks of skimmed milk were distributed despite prior review. The food inspector at the health ministry was referred to investigation by the AP as a result.
One patient died in one of the public hospitals in the Gharbeya governorate few hours after his admission due to lack of healthcare as nurses on the night shift were away that day. Two infants died in two different hospitals during 2014, as the hospital refused to admit their mothers during delivery, one of them had to remove her uterus.
More children died of wrong vaccines, in addition to a child who was supposed to receive a vaccine against a dog bite but, due to bureaucratic administrative procedures, they kept the child waiting until he died.
A cabinet decision, based on Article 18 of the Egyptian constitution, stated that public and private hospitals should provide free healthcare for emergency cases within 48 hours and penalise those who violate such a decision by shutting down the healthcare facility.
Ihab Taher, chief of the Egyptian Medicine Syndicate (EMS), told Daily News Egypt: “This decision was not activated because the ministry did not provide public or private healthcare facilities with any strategy or mechanism to implement such a decision.”
“There should be a deal arranged with health care facilities to compensate the 48 hours of treatment, which might pile up on the state’s budget in providing medical treatment up to EGP 2bn,” he added.
According to Taher, there are other reasons which hinder the decision, such as the lack of beds and baby-incubators across Egypt. But when sometimes there is availability, the patient has to pay in order to get treatment, he said.
The Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) said only 33 beds are available for every 10,000 citizens in Cairo’s hospitals, in a factsheet issued early June on Egypt’s health conditions.
Health ministry spokesperson Hossam Abdel- Ghaffar said in a TV show on Wednesday that “there is clear shortcoming from the Khanka hospital side in dealing with patients”, commenting on the death of 12 patients due to the nationwide heat wave.
“Twelve acts of violence inside the hospital are what led to the death of patients, which include delay from the doctors and nurses side in stopping medicines that have side effects in terms of body temperature,” he said.
Following investigations on the incident, the general authority for mental health replaced the hospital director Mostafa Shehata with the former head Mohamed Al-Sayed.
The AP called on updating regulations for the doctors work conduct and putting forth legislative reforms to ensure full accountability of doctors and health sector officials.