Healthcare in Egypt



When it comes to primary health care, Egypt provides its residents well with over 29 public health institutions.

The healthcare system in Egypt features a private sector, internationally trained medical staff and active non-government organizations devoted to public health. Both government and private owned hospitals are a common sight in the country, especially in the major cities such as Cairo, Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, and Luxor. Expats looking to avail of medical services in the country are advised to be cautious when in major cities, as the political and economic instability caused a serious disruption to the medical industry in the country.

Expatriates will find that medical care is offered for free to all residents including citizens and expats and even the non-insured in public hospitals. However, complicated medical cases are often referred to offshore medical facilities and the private health sector.While Egypt's pharmaceutical industry looks promising, it continues to depend on imports, thus, making drugs rather expensive. With the country going through a period of instability, most imports are in short supply.  

Those planning expatriation to the country should consider carrying cash as most doctors and hospitals expect to be paid this way regardless of travel insurance coverage. Pharmacies are in abundance, but due to factors such as high prices and the differing potency and availability of drugs, it is best to carry a basic stock of drugs too. 

Expats also fare well by practicing a few health safeguards while staying in Egypt. Food in the streets is considered unsafe and should be avoided. Some expats soak their fruits, vegetables, and raw eggs in white vinegar, and water to wash off pesticides, and special formulas to remove the chemicals may be bought from the pharmacies. To kill disease-causing microorganisms, some expats use a bleach solution to soak produce for at least ten minutes before air drying them for storage: 1 gallon of tap water plus a tablespoon of salt. Bottled water is best to drink or, when unavailable, boiled water. 

There are three main hospitals that most expats use, namely: Al Salam International Hospital in Maadi Dar, which is the most widely recommended, El Fouad and International Medical Center on Ismailia Road. Doctors in these facilities are English-speaking and known to be the cream of the crop in Egypt. An English-speaking hospital coordinator will help and guide patients to make sure the right medical attention is given at the right time. For emergencies, dial 123. With the political climate present in Egypt today, it is best that expats be mindful when it comes to where to go for medical care. Most large cities have already experienced bombings and other calamities from Islamic rebels, so it is best that expats exercise extreme caution when selecting a hospital to visit.

The government spends at least 6% of its GDP on health care. Despite minor loopholes in its current health system, there are said to be more doctors per 100,000 patients in Egypt than in most advanced countries. While Egypt has some health facilities and competent medical staff, the current political climate has called for an increase in the quality of healthcare and the need for a bigger healthcare budget. Expats travelling to Egypt are advised to obtain international or private health insurance to supplement their needs.


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