With the advent of winter, no voice rises in Egypt above the fear of the outbreak of the second wave of the Corona virus, especially among the medical teams that are standing in front of the epidemic on the front lines, which brings to mind what they were exposed to during the beginning of the first wave of the spread of the virus.
The Egyptian government recently warned of a doubling of the number of HIV infections, and Minister of Health Hala Zayed said in televised statements that “Corona injuries and deaths will double without the muzzle, which may worsen in the coming months of December and January.”
Two days ago, the Egyptian Medical Syndicate mourned Dr. Kamal Al-Dars, who died in Al-Agami Isolation Hospital in Alexandria as a result of infection with Covid-19 disease, bringing the number of doctors’ victims of the Corona virus to 201 doctors, in addition to others from the rest of the medical teams.
Material and moral appreciation
Doctor Asma works in an isolation hospital in Cairo coming from her village in the Gharbia governorate in the north every two weeks to perform her work in health care for patients and critical cases, and she says that she and her colleagues are waiting for “material and moral appreciation.”
In her interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Asma stresses that despite the repeated government statements of solidarity with doctors, especially in light of the outbreak of the epidemic again, this has not yet been implemented in the desired manner.
She explained that there was a decision to increase the incentives for medical teams according to the law to increase the allowance for medical professions and the Profession Risks Fund by an amount of 525 pounds (the dollar equals about 16 pounds), but the net increase and insurance is deducted so that the amount is about 400 pounds, adding, “This is a small amount compared to the pressures they are exposed to. Her in isolation hospitals. “
The doctor warned against negligence in applying preventive measures inside hospitals in light of the danger of the second wave of the virus, noting the high incidence of strokes resulting from the activity of the virus in the body, which is noticeable among the recent Corona victims.
On Tuesday, the Egyptian Ministry of Health announced the registration of 275 new cases that proved positive for laboratory analyzes of the virus, bringing the number of infected people to 111,284, and also announcing the death of 16 new cases, bringing the number of deaths to 6,481 deaths.
Despite the pressures that doctors suffered during the first phase of the epidemic outbreak, work schedules for doctors remain another challenge, as working hours reach 12 hours a day, which is “It is inhuman and does not comply with international labor laws,” according to the doctor Muhammad Ali is a consultant of the liver and digestive system, and a medical advisor to one of the Egyptian pharmaceutical NGOs.
The Egyptian doctor pointed out that the heavy medical isolation clothes that doctors wear add health pressure to the psychological pressure of doctors, which affects the immune system, which needs to rest to work well, indicating that the appropriate number of working hours should not exceed 6 to 8 hours per day.
In turn, Doctor Hussam, who is an orthopedic surgeon in a government hospital, described the medical system in Egypt as a “Tamarind milk fish”, indicating that it was supposed to increase the incentives provided to doctors and appreciate their role like other countries, but the system is running badly forcing doctors to travel outside Country to search for better career opportunities.
Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, Hussam explained that his work is dangerous in light of the outbreak of the epidemic, especially with working for 36 hours during two days due to the existence of a list of operations and successive work shifts, and in return he does not receive the privileges that doctors should obtain in such cases. These difficult conditions.
Immigration and resignations
In addition to work schedules and the resulting pressures, the situation is also exacerbated by the weak numbers of doctors in light of emigration abroad and resignation from the Ministry of Health due to low salaries and the absence of interest in medical teams, which is indicated by the 60% of medical school graduates who work outside the country, according to previous statements. For Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly.
Madbouly’s statements last October prompted MP Tariq Metwally to submit a briefing request to the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Health and Higher Education regarding the continuing phenomenon of doctors fleeing abroad.
In his request, the MP said that according to a statistical report issued by the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, the number of doctors working in the Ministry of Health decreased between 2018 and 2019 until it reached about 1500 doctors in 2015, and that about 3 thousand doctors under 35 years of age submitted their resignations during 2018 and 2019, and that those who were referred to Retirement, in addition to the number of registered doctors free of charge, more than the number of those who entered the service, about 1500 doctors.
The MP emphasized that one of the most important factors that expel the Egyptian doctor is low wages, lack of protection during work, and the absence of a law regulating the profession to correct medical errors, as well as poor work environment from the lack of supplies and some medicines that lead to citizens’ assault on doctors, with no protection from the competent authorities “On the other hand, we find foreign countries provide all facilities to attract Egyptian doctors, because their level is high and distinguished,” he added.
Corona and arrests
The doctors ’crisis with Corona did not stop at work pressures only, but rather reached a high rate of infection among them compared to global rates, as the former Undersecretary of the Medical Association, Mona Mina, explained that the percentage of doctors in Egypt is about 3% of the total injured, while it is in a country like England. 0.5%.
Mina, who is also the general coordinator of the Doctors Without Rights movement, also confirmed that the rise in the number of doctors’ corona victims requires the state’s attention to caring for their families, providing them with material aid, and treating them in a decent manner, just like the families of the army and police victims.
On the appeal of civil society to participate in the fund to support the families of the martyrs in the union, Mina said on social media, “I find it absolutely inappropriate, so it is not correct for us to shift from demanding the rights of our colleagues to begging. Is the civil society required to donate to terrorist martyrs or has a government fund been imposed? Fees for him to cover decent pensions for them?
The challenges facing the medical team in Egypt do not stop there, as there are arrests of doctors who have criticized the government’s actions in the face of the pandemic, as they have been charged for allegedly spreading false news and misusing social media.
Despite the government’s announcement last March of allocating an amount of 100 billion pounds to combat the Corona virus, the Medical Council issued a statement on October 21 revealing the shortage of medical supplies, which forced the union to open a bank account to donate in order to support the medical teams.
Finance Minister Mohamed Maait had confirmed that the state had spent 65 billion pounds of the amount at the end of last June, stressing that the government had directed most of the sums to medical supplies, irregular employment, goods to be provided, and the doctors and nursing sector.