25 August 2019 01:55 PM

Sisi witnesses session on health insurance system at Youth Conference

Sunday، 29 July 2018 - 01:17 PM

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Sunday 29/07/2018 witnessed a session on "Developing the Health Insurance System" as part of the second day activities of the 6th National Youth Conference, held at Cairo University campus.

House  Speaker Ali Abdel Aal, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli, Presidential Assistant for National and Strategic Projects Sherif Ismail, Head of Suez Canal Authority Mohab Mamish, a number of ministers and top state officials attended the session.

Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed, Finance Minister Mohamed Ma'it and the Presidential program member Jaclain Azer, who serves as assistant professor at Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, are taking part in the debate session.

Addressing the debate session on "Health Insurance System", Minister of Health and Population  Hala Zayed said health is a fundamental issue as President Abdel Fattah El Sisi asserted that health and education are main bases of building the Egyptian citizen.

Since President Sisi has launched the new health insurance system on July 6, the Ministry of Health and Population in cooperation with its partners joined efforts to build the new health system and reform its deficiencies, she said.

She went on to say that one of the biggest challenges facing the health system is the waiting lists of Hepatitis C virus patients, adding that an integrated health package has been established with the aim of ending the waiting lists problem of Hepatitis C patients, increasing reserves of vaccines, baby milk formulas as well as decreasing population growth and securing a health system that can be applicable nationwide.

The minister asserted that such package will introduce a radical change in reforming the health system with the participation of hospitals of the universities, Armed Forces, Police and Civil Society.

Addressing the debate session on "The Health Insurance System", Minister of Health Hala Zayed said there are 12,127 patients on the waiting lists of nine medical specialties, noting that 3,992 patients have been operated.

Also, around 5,000 patients are on the waiting lists of university teaching hospitals, the minister said, adding that 1,700 patients have undergone liver transplant surgeries.

The minister also explained that a plan is currently underway to include nine critical surgeries in the health insurance system. They include open heart, cardiac catheterization, kidney and liver transplant, eye and bone surgeries, neurosurgeries, cochlear implantation as well as cancer.

The minister attributed the accumulation in patient waiting lists to the hospital service fees, which represent around 30 percent of the total cost, adding that fees in the new health system law will be announced within 10 days.

Zayed also pointed out that the Health Ministry is cooperating with its partners including the Higher Education and Scientific Research Ministry, the Central Bank of Egypt, the Finance Ministry, hospitals of Egyptian universities, the Armed Forces, Beit Al Zakat, Wadi el Nile Hospital and Orman Society.

Addressing a session on "The Health Insurance System", Minister of Health Hala Zayed said preparations are underway to train human cadres and buy special appliances to discover Virus C infections.

As of the first of October, a publicity for the new health system will be launched at media, the minister said, adding that "Long Live Egypt" Fund and the World Health Organization will be asked to oversee the system to ensure transparency in displaying the results. As many as 3,800 health units will be involved in the new system.

There are 74 clinics for treatment of Hepatitis C virus patients, the minister said, noting that the number will reach 114 with the involvement of hospitals.

"Long Live Egypt" Unit, established in Aswan in 2016, is the biggest of its kind in Egypt in the treatment of Hepatitis C virus, Zayed said, adding that medical convoys will be used to reach remote areas in the New Valley and North Sinai.

Concerning the strategic reserves of vaccines and serums, the minister said the Ministry bought 22,5 million of subsidized baby milk formulas and a storage system will be set up in Cairo and Alexandria to meet any shortage. At least 3 million packages will be stored to make the reserves sufficient for at least three months alongside the ordinary storage system in the governorates.

Health Minister Hala Zayed said the subsidized baby formula mechanism needs a distribution system to ensure reaching those who deserve them.

The Armed Forces currently purchased baby formulas, but they gear up for producing formula next year so that there will be no need for importation anymore, she said.

Serums and vaccines were purchased at LE 2.5 billion in 2018 against LE 1.7 billion in 2017, she said, attributing this rise to the use of modern and more expensive technology in manufacturing vaccines.

She added that the ministry responded positively to the World Health Organization's call as regards polio, rubeola and rubella vaccines at a total cost of LE 350 million.

She attributed the rise in vaccines' purchase to the upping birth rates.

Zayed underlined the importance downing populating growth rate, considering this as a major challenge that is as grave as terrorism.

She expounded that the ministry's goal is to decrease birth rate to 2.4 children for each woman by 2030.

As for the new health insurance system, she said the health insurance subscription is obligatory to the family not the individual.

The new system is governed by a well-tailored legal mechanism and is meant to serve patients in the first place, she expounded.

She said the formation of three authorities; namely financing authority, health service authority and monitoring and quality authority, was finalized in preparation for establishing them soon.

The health minister said that her ministry will develop policies and preventive services after the implementation of the health insurance system throughout Egypt. It will also set up a body for accreditation and health monitoring to be affiliated to the presidency.

A finance body to be affiliated to the cabinet and a public welfare authority under the supervision of the Ministry of Health will be also established, she said.

She pointed out to the importance of the civil society's role, noting that Dr. Magdi Yacoub had sent designs for the establishment of a pediatric heart surgery unit serving the entire Suez Canal region at Al Nasr Children's Hospital in Port Said.

The minister said the first phase of the new health insurance system at Port Said hospitals will include six hospitals and 23 units.

Patients will be able to telephone Call Centers to get services of the new system, excluding emergencies, she said.

In order to start implementing the health insurance system in Egypt, it is decided to establish 48 model-standard hospitals across the nation, she added.

Health Minister Hala Zayed said human element is the most important element in the health mechanism, expressing her full appreciation to all workers operating in the health domain.

At the end of her word, the minister honored four youths, including two doctors and a nurse, working in the health domain for their efforts in developing health mechanism in Egypt.

She also paid tribute to paramedic Ahmed Gamal who sustained four bullets in the head while serving in El Arish, wishing him a speedy recovery.

Finance Miniser Mohamed Ma'it said Egypt has been taking steps to have a comprehensive medical coverage since 2005, adding that having a comprehensive coverage is very difficult even in major economies.

He said the Finance Ministry cooperated with the Health Ministry and other ministries concerned to move from having an individual medical coverage to a family one.

He said half of Egyptians have a comprehensive medical coverage but those who benefited from it are the ones who are subjected to the medical insurance law of 1979.

Having a comprehensive medical insurance is very important as it will lower poverty rate but of course it will take time to place 100 million people under the medical insurance umbrella.

To guarantee the success of the new mechanism, all the society should be engaged in it to offer better services to citizens at all hospitals, he said.

Upon the directives of President Sisi, the minister said 540 hospitals will be rehabilitated to lower patients' waiting lists for surgery, saying the first phase of Egypt’s new national health insurance system will be applied in Port Said by the end of the year at a cost ranging between 1.8 to 2 billion pounds.

Though difficult, economic reform will sure help society pay for better health, education, social housing and services, the finance minister believes.

Without economic reform, the government cannot possibly meet the demands of citizens, Ma'it told the gathering.

The new health insurance system is estimated to cost some 18 billion pounds, he said, adding it will be an obligatory system to which all segments of society should contribute according to their income. This, the minister noted, will help achieve social peace.

The new system will not only apply to government hospitals, but to private facilities as well, Ma'it made it clear.

"Both the public and private sectors with the army should compete to provide high-quality services that citizens rightly deserve," the minister said.

But the Health Ministry remains the strategic planner that is politically responsible for the system and responsible for public health, Ma'it added.

Financial reform would guarantee that the State continues to bankroll the health insurance system, the finance minister told the conference.

The health insurance budget has increased to 13 billion pounds, up from just five billion two years ago, Mait noted.

The financial situation did improve but not as it should be, the minister acknowledged, adding that specialized medical centers are still better in this regard.

The private sector, as well as university and military hospitals, will contribute to providing medical services in line with terms of the Egyptian Organization for Standards and Quality Control (EOS), which falls under direct supervision of the president of Egypt, the minister further said.

As for the finance of the new health insurance system, Finance Minister Mohamed Mait said the subscriptions will be equal and the State will bear the entire process of spending, pointing out that 30 to 35% of the Egyptian people will be subsidized directly by the finance ministry.

He added that the cost of services per person in the new health insurance will be an average of EGP 1,849, and that if the private sector's participation is calculated, the figure will be EGP 2,500.

The minister pointed out that the new insurance system needs time in order to stabilize and yield good results. He also offered an actuarial view of the new health insurance over the next 15 years, showing diversity of the funding resources of the new system.

Assistant lecturer of the Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University Jaklin Azer considered the issuance of the comprehensive health insurance law as one of the most important achievements of 2018.

She said comprehensive health insurance came in first place with regard assessing health systems, referring to a study on health systems assessment in eight world countries, including Britain, the US and Denmark.

She expounded that the study referred to two other main factors of assessing health systems; namely patients' safety and the effectiveness of the health system.

For her part, Minister of Health Halah Zayed stressed the ministry's keenness to provide an integrated health service for patients.

Addressing the session on the health insurance system at the 6th National Youth Conference, Zayed said that the Ministry of Health aims to achieve an ideal model for operating at the two most important hospitals in each governorate to become more ready in the infrastructure to work alongside other hospitals in the governorate.

She pointed out that the Ministry of Health has a database for patients and infrastructure, stressing the importance of medical records in the new health insurance system and at model-standard hospitals.

As for measures taken in the drug file, the minister said that there are great challenges facing the Ministry of Health in this file, especially as regards pricing and registration.

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