The World Bank will be investing $530 Million in a project aiming to improve Egyptian healthcare, according to Arab News.

This money will go toward a 5 year project by the Ministry of Health and Population to support a new universal health care insurance system. The health reform scheme will be introduced from 2018-2032. Its aim is to improve public healthcare, including expanding family planning services, making improvements to its already groundbreaking Hepatitis C program, and supporting the new Universal Health Insurance System.

“The solution to the health problem in Egypt lies in the rapid implementation of the comprehensive health insurance system,” said Abdel Hamid Sheikh, a member of Parliament’s Health Committee. He also stated that this plan aims to “achieve results and deliver services to the ordinary patient, and provide support and treatment at the expense of the state to needy patients only.”

The new scheme, which will begin next month, has been met with controversy, as part of the bill is pushed on to the Egyptian people. It states that all Egyptian residents, including employers, expatriates and casual workers, must make mandatory monthly payments of between 1 and 4 percent of their income. Also, the family breadwinner will be responsible for paying monthly contributions for family members, including unemployed spouses and all children. Dr. Ali Mehrez, head of the Central Administration of Medical Licenses in the Health Ministry, added that these costs were necessary to ensure the quality of health services, and that the costs were proportionate with the public and not excessive.

Egypt’s healthcare system is not in the best condition; medication shortages are an issue, and this naturally leads to their prices going up (like everything else), and lifestyle conditions such as diabetes are still a major problem. Only 57% of Egyptians currently have health insurance, as Egypt is lagging behind other countries in the region in the quality of services and number of people being treated. Egyptians currently pay more than 60 percent of their own health costs, and this plan will be aiming to alleviate this.

Main image from Vezeeta