CAIRO, June 16 (Reuters) — The World Bank said on Tuesday it would provide US$400 million to support universal health coverage in Egypt as the country struggles with rising numbers of new coronavirus cases.
The funding will help Egypt increase the reach of its universal health insurance system in six governorates and offer temporary financial protection to those hit by high out-of-pocket health expenditures linked to the coronavirus outbreak, the bank said in a statement.
Egypt’s health ministry has confirmed 47,856 coronavirus cases, and 1,766 deaths, with the daily increase in cases rising in recent weeks as the government has slightly eased some restrictions on movement.
Though the government has announced increases in health spending during the coronavirus outbreak, the sector has suffered from decades of under-investment.
Quality of public health provision is often poor, and many Egyptians either lack health insurance or do not use it due to concerns over quality of care at government facilities, according to a World Bank report from 2018.
The World Bank launched a five-year, $530 million program to support Egypt’s healthcare system in 2018 that includes screening and treatment for Hepatitis C and non-communicable diseases, health facility improvement and healthcare worker training.
Reporting by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Tom Brown
Image: A man wearing a protective face mask walks in Cairo, amidst concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Egypt, May 4, 2020. (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)