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Egypt: Army’s Domination of Health Sector

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The Egyptian Ministry of Military Production has expanded its involvement in the Egyptian economic and social affairs in general although these activities are deemed contradictory with the ministry’s vision and objectives. However, the Ministry of Military Production has dominated dozens of projects in civil ministries, including the Ministry of Health.

Cooperation between the Military Production and Health ministries

Following are the most significant projects and memorandums of understanding signed between the Ministry of Military Production and the Health Ministry during the period from 2016 to 2018, where the military tightened their grip on the health sector in Egypt:

– Construction of the ambulance factory:

On January 19, 2017, the Ministry of Military Production along with the Health Ministry, as representatives of the Egyptian government, signed a memorandum of understanding with a company (the statement did not mention the name of the company) to establish the first ambulance factory in Egypt.

– Mechanization of the health insurance project:

On 6 December 2018, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Health, Military Production and Communications ministries on the mechanization of comprehensive health insurance services in its first phase, launched from Port Said governorate.

– Construction of an infant milk factory:

Minister of Military Production Major General Mohamed Al-Assar announced on 10 January 2017 that Egypt will establish a factory for the production of infant milk in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.

– Construction of a self-destructing syringe plant:

 On 30 December 2015, Ahmed Emad, the former Minister of Health, announced a number of measures to speed up the completion of the self-destructing syringe plant within the framework of the Ministry’s strategy for the prevention of the hepatitis C virus (HCV). He stressed that a draft protocol of cooperation between the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Military Production and the Armed Forces Engineering Authority, representing the Ministry of Defense, was signed to speed up the completion of the plant.

– Establishment of the National Company for Drugs and Preparations for Oncology Treatment (We Can):

Ahmed Imad, the former Minister of Health, on 22 May 2017 announced the establishment of the National Company for Drugs and Preparations for Oncology Treatment. The company (We Can) includes representatives from the Ministry of Military Production, VACSERA company and another private company.

– Construction of a factory for producing tumor medications:

On 17 September 2018, State Minister of Military Production Mohamed el Assar and Health Minister Hala Zayed “conferred on a flurry of issues topped by establishing a factory for producing tumor medications”. The factory is to be built by “We Can” company in cooperation with the Ministry of Military Production, Vacsera Company, Tahya Misr Fund and Pharco Company along with a number of international companies.

– The field of medical equipment:

The Ministry of Military Production participated in (Pharmacy Expo 2018), represented by Maadi Engineering Industries to promote the various medical equipment available in the company. Minister of Military Production Mohamed El- Assar said the Ministry is pleased to participate in this exhibition within the framework of its role in supporting the national industry and the medical sector in Egypt.

– Construction of a factory for medical solutions:

 On 15 October 2016, the Ministry of Health signed a protocol of cooperation with the Ministry of Military Production in order to establish a factory for medical solutions.

The role of the Armed Forces Engineering Authority in building and developing hospitals:

The Armed Forces Engineering Authority (AFEA) is the cornerstone and the locomotive of military action in the civil sector in general, which is evident in the size of the projects assigned to the AFEA in the fields of infrastructure, including roads, bridges and facilities, in addition to its great role in digging the new Suez canal shunt.

The activities and investments of the Armed Forces Engineering Authority in the health sector include:

1- Primary health care centers:

The primary health care centers are health care or family care units all over the country (numbering 5391 units in 2017). The Armed Forces Engineering Authority is responsible for the establishment and development of these units. The AFEA has established 500 health units in various governorates over the last five years, including:

– Within the framework of the Armed Forces Engineering Authority’s investment in the health sector, the military spokesman announced on 30 April 2013 that the AFEA has built (348) health units throughout the country.

– On 14 February 2015, the armed forces in Al-Ahram newspaper announced that the AFEA established and developed (54) health units in Upper Egypt.

– Some 19 model health units have been completed in the villages and the poorest areas in several governorates all  over the country distributed as follows: 5 units in Assiut governorate, 3 units in Menoufia, 3 units in Damietta, 4 units in Sharqiya, and 4 units in Beheira.

– Establishment of (43) health units in 6 governorates within a UAE grant for establishing (78) model health units, distributed as follows: 2 units in the New Valley, 5 units in El-Menya, 3 units in Fayoum, 7 units in Beni Suef, 3 units in Aswan, 5 units in Assiut, 9 units in Qena, 4 units in Sohag, 3 units in Luxor, and 2 units in the Red Sea governorate.

As for the preparation of the new comprehensive health insurance project in Port Said, the Armed Forces Engineering Authority also was assigned the establishment and development of hospitals and health units in Port Said, where former Minister of Health Ahmed Emad confirmed that he coordinates with Kamel al-Wazir, the former head of AFEA, on providing the equipments of Port Said medical insurance hospitals.

2- Construction of new hospitals

Former Minister of Health Ahmed Emad in January 2011 in a statement to a TV program, Tale of Homeland, pointed out that the Ministry of Health established and developed 67 hospitals and 44 specialized medical centers in all sectors of the Ministry of Health during the fiscal years 2015-2018.

The Egyptian army monopolizes construction at the Ministry of Health, where construction works cannot be assigned to any civil company. Construction projects are given by the Health Minister to the institutions of the Armed Forces Engineering Authority by direct order without resorting to public tenders and bids.

Following are some hospitals the AFEA announced it developed during that period:

– Port Fouad General Hospital (LE 300 million)

– 15 May Hospital (LE 324 million)

– Health Insurance Hospital in 10th of Ramadan city (LE 450 million)

– Kafr Saad Hospital in Damietta (LE 30 million)

– El-Saff Central Hospital (LE 9.2 million)

– Luxor Governorate hospitals, including Armant Hospital (LE 289 million), Luxor General Hospital (LE 350 million), Sana Central Hospital (LE 600), in addition to El-Bayadia and El-Odaisat hospitals.

– Aswan General Hospital (LE 390 million)

–  El-Khargah General Hospital in 2018 (LE 50 million), which was constructed by the AFEA in 16 November 2014 (LE 60 million)

– Beni Suef General Hospital (LE 400 million)

– Port Said General Hospital (LE 127 million)

In addition, there are several hospitals that were developed in the South Sinai Governorate (Nakhl Central Hospital, Bir Al Abed Hospital, and Abu Redis Hospital), several hospitals in Beni Suef (Nasser Hospital, El-Fashn Hospital, and Baba Hospital), as well as development of El-Matareya Educational Hospital.

– The Heart Institute, which was developed by the military in two stages.

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