Egypt: MSF Providing Maternal and Child Health Care Near Cairo

MSF is providing health care to mothers and children on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital.

Cairo/New York, November 8, 2012—The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is providing health care to mothers and children on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital.

Since the clinic in the Abu Elian area opened its doors in mid-August, it has seen an average of 50 patients a day. Medical staff has carried out a total of 3,853 consultations, 2,861 of them for children.

“Most of the children we’ve treated had infections of upper and lower respiratory tracts, intestinal parasites, skin diseases, and diarrhea,” said MSF doctor Ebtisam Amin Saleh.

Abu Elian is a rural settlement in El Marg District, between Qalyubiya Governorate and New Cairo. Before the clinic opened, residents of Abu Elian had to travel for more than an hour to reach the closest health facility. For many families in the area, the cost of transport and treatment prevents them from seeing a doctor even when they need urgent medical attention.

“In some areas, public services are not able to keep up with the rapid expansion of the city,” says Julien Raickman, MSF’s country director in Egypt. “Our objective is to cover the current gaps in health care and increase the proximity of health services for women and children.”

At the outpatient clinic, staff includes two pediatricians, providing specialist care to children under five, and a gynecologist, providing antenatal and postnatal care to women of childbearing age. The clinic also has a 24-hour emergency referral system for deliveries, with MSF providing transport to hospital as well as covering hospital costs.

With many women in Abu Elian giving birth at home, the clinic’s community health workers are raising awareness of the importance of having medical check-ups, both during pregnancy and after the baby is born.

Having completed official registration with the Egyptian authorities last year, MSF is looking forward to expanding its medical activities in Egypt, including the prevention and treatment of Hepatitis C.