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Calls Grow to Recognise Egypt’s Medical Staff Who Died Fighting Covid-19 as ‘Martyrs Like Police and Army’

An Egyptian administrative court session is set for 28 October to finally rule in a lawsuit filed collectively by 49 families of the medical staff who sacrificed their lives during the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic amid poor working conditions.

“The lawsuit demanded that the government treat dead doctors, nurses and medics on equal footing like the martyrs of the police and army forces who were fighting terrorism and provided their families with exceptional pensions,” the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights said in a statement over the weekend.

Once dubbed Egypt’s “White Army,” with the outbreak of COVID-19 in Egypt back in February 2020, the country’s medical corps working at public hospitals frequently called for better payments and working conditions.  

“The efforts of doctors and other medical personnel fighting COVID-19 were hampered by poor working conditions and the lack of adequate precautionary measures, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of them at quarantine hospitals,” an ex-board member of the Doctors’ Syndicate told The New Arab on condition of anonymity.

“A monthly allowance paid to doctors to cover the cost of treatment in case s/he gets infected is as much as 19 pounds [about US$0.60]…[F]requent calls for raising it have always been ignored by the government,” the syndicate board member said.

Statistically, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has put Egypt’s doctor-to-population ratio at about seven for every 10,000 patients, while the global average is 32 physicians for every 10,000 citizens.

In recent years, Egypt has been facing a wave of immigration of physicians seeking better opportunities.

The Egyptian Medical Syndicate revealed in April this year that 11,536 doctors resigned from their jobs in the public health sector since 2019.

In the UK alone, Egyptian doctors were ranked among the top five “joiner doctors” who joined the British medical workforce.

Source: The New Arab

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