World Bank provides $400 million to boost health insurance in Egypt

A person enters the building of the Washington-based global development lender, The World Bank Group, in Washington on January 17, 2019. - World Bank current President Jim Yong Kim announced on January 7, 2019, that he would cut short his tenure as president more than three years before his second term was to end. The World Bank Board said it would start accepting nominations for a new leader early next month and name a replacement for Kim by mid-April 2019. (Photo by Eric BARADAT / AFP) (Photo credit should read ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty Images)
People wearing face masks walk on a street in Cairo, Egypt, on June 12, 2020.(Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)

The World Bank said on Tuesday it would provide $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 programme 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.