Online Program

Feasibility of Implementing Universal Healthcare Coverage in Egypt: A Qualitative Study

Monday, November 2, 2015

Nohier Elmedany, MD, MPP, School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, American University of Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
Khalid Amin, PhD, American University of Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
Laila Elbaradei, American University of Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
Hamid Ali, American University of Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
Yahya Al-Farsi, MD, PhD, Family Medicine & Public Health, Sultan Qaboos University, Alkhoud, Oman
Background: Universal healthcare coverage (UHC), where a basic package of health services is accessible to the entire population without enduring financial hardships, is currently considered as a global priority and an overarching goal of every healthcare system. As many developing countries, the Egyptian healthcare system suffers from notable inefficiency and failure to meet people basic needs in terms of offering decent and satisfactory health services, and therefore, exploring the potential of implementation of UHC is urgently needed.

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the applicability of social health insurance (SHI) model as being the equitable right strategy in order to fully implement UHC in Egypt.

Methods: This qualitative study was conducted over a period of 3 months using semi-structured interviews and desk review. A series of interviews were conducted among 20 different stakeholders during six visits. The interviewees were senior experts in a number of national and international organizations concerned with healthcare development. They represented four main groups: Policy makers, service providers, SHI beneficiaries (patients), and NGOs representatives. A framework approach was used to analyse the qualitative data.

Results: Participants identified several factors that affect the implementation of UHC in Egypt based on the strengths and weaknesses of the current Egyptian healthcare system and potential future perspectives.  The main themes highlighted were the challenges faced by the existing SHI system, and barriers affecting tax-financed system.

Conclusion: The study provides supportive evidence that SHI is the right equitable strategy provided that it is implemented appropriately. Concomitant with the new health insurance law presented currently for public discussion, an explicit roadmap for SHI reform taking into consideration pressing challenges is required.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Assess the feasibility of universal healthcare coverage in a low-income country

Keyword(s): Health Care Access, Health Care Costs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator of this study, as part of my thesis dissertation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.