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The road to Universal Health Coverage in Egypt: New expectations and hopes - P4H Network

The road to Universal Health Coverage in Egypt: New expectations and hopes

This article originally featured in International Health Policies, discusses Egypt’s healthcare system, the universal health insurance law (2017) that exhibited Egypt’s political will to work towards universal health coverage, and the implementation of the law in the years that followed.


…With a rapidly growing economy and also improving human resources, the reform of Egypt’s healthcare sector became a priority of the country’s development agenda in recent years. That’s why the government has been steadily working towards the implementation of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda and the Sustainable Strategy for Egypt (Egypt vision 2030).

In December 2017, the Egyptian parliament passed a bill to ensure Universal Health Insurance (UHI) for all Egyptians; soon after, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi ratified it. The new Universal Health Insurance Law puts Egypt on the road towards progressive realization of UHC and aims to cover the whole Egyptian population with the quality health services they need without suffering hardship. 

The updated timeline for implementation is 10 years and Egypt has already passed the halfway mark.

Since the passing of the bill, Egypt has started making a number of concrete implementation decisions which have to cover the operationalization of various health system functions, including health system financing, governance arrangement, health service delivery, health information systems, health workforce, access to essential medicines.

Implementation of the UHI Bill

The cost of UHI for one citizen will range from EGP 1300 ($42.14 ) to EGP 4,000  ($129.66), from a mere figure of EGP112 in the current insurance system,  in line with Egypt’s macroeconomic target to increase spending on health, education, and research and development to at least 10% of GDP.

 The new UHI system ought to focus more on a truly people-centered health system by ensuring the inclusion of individuals, families, and communities in the decision-making, in order to respond to their needs humanely and holistically. The Egyptian government should adopt sustainable health financing models by addressing the political economy of the health financing reform – a lesson which should have learnt well from the failed reform attempts  in the 2000s.