Egypt: Supporting hospitals and anticipating needs
Since the escalation of political violence in Egypt in late June, MSF’s team in Cairo has been in close and regular contact with the main public and private healthcare facilities throughout Cairo and other affected areas of the country. The team has provided medical supplies and equipment to health facilities on both sides of the clashes.
MSF is in contact with a network of volunteer Egyptian doctors who are trying to meet the direct needs of victims in the locations where clashes occur, as well as with the public hospitals who receive casualties. The MSF team identifies specific gaps or needs, such as a shortage of drugs or surgical supplies, and provides timely support when needed. Most recently, MSF has facilitated the donation of drugs, medical supplies and surgical equipment to Al Hussein Hospital in central Cairo and to Al Arish Hospital in the Sinai region in the north of the country. Donations of drugs and supplies have also been made to a group of doctors running a clinic near the sites where violence has occurred.
“Our priority is to make sure the Egyptian health system and civil society are coping adequately with the influxes of wounded and that people who need care can get it,” says Mario Stephan, MSF’s operational coordinator. “There has been significant mobilisation by both the public health system and civil society organisations, and up to now they have been able to address the medical needs that have arisen from the current crisis.”
In addition to the public hospitals, additional field hospitals have been set up by local organisations to manage the wounded. “When clashes occur, access to the affected areas is extremely difficult, and sometimes impossible, due to road blocks and insecurity”, says Stephan. “It is therefore usually doctors already present on site that provide the bulk of medical assistance.”
In anticipation of the demonstrations on 30 June, and before this latest wave of violence, MSF provided training, medical equipment and drugs to a number of volunteer Egyptian doctors to enable them to respond quickly and appropriately to medical needs on the spot during demonstrations. MSF also conducted trainings for Egyptian Ministry of Health personnel in how to respond effectively in the event of large influxes of wounded patients.
MSF continues to closely monitor the situation in Cairo and throughout the country, and is ready to provide further assistance if there are any gaps in healthcare provision.
MSF has been present in Egypt since 2010 and currently runs two mother and child health clinics in the Greater Cairo area, in addition to the current emergency response activities.