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Health in Egypt

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Title: Health in Egypt  
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Subject: Health systems by country, Smoking in Egypt, Egyptian cuisine, Culture of Egypt, Tourism in Egypt
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Health in Egypt

Egypt faces a number of ongoing health challenges.

Health infrastructure

The Egyptian Ministry of Health is the government body responsible for health in Egypt.

Water supply and sanitation

There are conflicting figures about the number of people with access to safe water, and especially the number of people with access to sanitation. According to the official UN figures used to monitor the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, 99% of Egyptians had access to an improved water source and 94% had access to improved sanitation in 2008.

Access to Water and Sanitation in Egypt (2010)[1]
(43% of the population)
(57% of the population)
Water Broad definition 100% 99% 99%
House connections 100% 93% 96%
Sanitation Broad definition 97% 93% 95%
Sewage n/a n/a 50% (2006 census)

Soakaway latrines, which are common in rural areas, often do not work properly due to the high groundwater table, infrequent emptying and cracks in the walls. Thus sewage leaks out and contaminates the surrounding streets, canals, and groundwater. Trucks that empty latrines and septic tanks do not necessarily discharge septage into wastewater treatment plants, but rather dump the content in the environment.[2]

According to the government's National Research Center, 40 percent of Cairo's inhabitants do not get water for more than three hours per day and three large districts do not receive any piped water. In 2008 demonstrations concerning this issue took place in Suez, where 500 people blocked a main road to Cairo.[3] According to a survey carried out prior to 2006 in governorate of Fayoum, 46% of households complained about low water pressure, 30% about frequent water cuts and 22% complained that water is not available during day time. These problems lead many people to use water from canals which could be hazardous to health.[4]

It is estimated that each year about 17,000 children die from [5] In 2009, a study by the Ministry of Health showed that drinking water for half a million people in Asiut was unfit for human consumption.[6] As of June 2011, nothing had been done to address the problem. Chlorination systems of wells, which had been installed years ago because high levels of bacteria had been detected in the groundwater, failed for lack of maintenance and have been shut down so that untreated water is provided to the residents.[7]

Health status

Life expectancy

The 2014 CIA estimated average life expectancy in Egypt was 73.45 years.[8]

Infectious diseases

Egypt has particularly high rates of Hepatitis C (22%), one of the highest world wide (Pakistan (4.8%), China (3.2%)).[9] It is believed that the high prevalence in Egypt is linked to a now-discontinued mass-treatment campaign for schistosomiasis, using improperly sterilized glass syringes.[10]

Avian influenza has been present in Egypt, with 52 cases and 23 deaths in January 2009.[11]

With an estimated [12]


With less than 1 percent of the population estimated to be HIV-positive, Egypt is a low-HIV-prevalence country. Unsafe behaviors among most-at-risk populations and limited condom use among the general population place Egypt at risk of a broader epidemic. According to the National AIDS Program (NAP), there were 1,155 people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Egypt by the end of 2007. UNAIDS estimates for 2005 were higher, putting the number of HIV-positive Egyptians at 5,300.[12]


Smoking in Egypt is prevalent, with 19 billion cigarettes smoked annually in Egypt making it the largest cigarette market in the Arab world.[13] Inside cafes, hookah (shisha) smoking is common. As of 2012 smoking in Egypt has reached an all-time high with an estimated twenty percent, ten million people, regularly using tobacco products.[14]


In 1996, Egypt had the highest average BMI in the world at 26.3.[15] In 1998, 1.6% of 2–6 year olds, 4.9% of 6–10 year olds, 14.7% of 10–14 year olds, and 13.4% of 14–18 year olds were obese. 45% of urban women and 20% of the rural population were obese.[16]

Obesity rates rose as oils, fat, and sugars were more regularly consumed, beginning in the 1990s. The cultural appreciation of heavier female bodies is a factor.[16] Another explanation is the degree to which food is the center of social events and special occasions. Heavy consumption of starchy and fatty foods without the presence of a health-conscious exercise culture is a major factor. As parents teach this lifestyle to their children, the prevalence of childhood obesity increases.[17] Today, Egyptian teenagers drink three times as much soda as milk. Ten percent of males and females drink five or more cans of soda a day, which can lead to early osteoporosis in women in the future. These food habits are reinforced by junk food advertisements and the availability of unhealthy food at supermarkets. As a result, teenagers are three times as likely to be overweight than they were 20 years ago.[18]

Drug use

According to Egypt’s National Council for Battling Drug Addiction, the use of recreational drugs among residents of Cairo over the age of 15 has rocketed from 6% to 30% since the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.[19]

See also


  1. ^  
  2. ^ United Nations, General Assembly, Human Rights Council (5 July 2010). "Report of the independent expert on the issue of human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque Addendum Mission to Egypt". pp. 12–13. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  3. ^ New York Times:Pipes but no water: A need grows in Egypt, by Daniel Williams, September 30, 2008, Retrieved on 2011-07-21
  4. ^ a b c National Water Research Center, Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (2007): Actualizing the Right to Water: An Egyptian Perspective for an Action Plan, Shaden Abdel-Gawad, retrieved on 2012-04-30
  5. ^ Noha Donia, Assistant Professor Engineering Dep.Institute of Environmental Studies and Research:SURVEY OF POTABLE WATER QUALITY PROBLEMS IN EGYPT, Eleventh International Water Technology Conference (2007), Sharm el-Sheikh, p. 1051, retrieved on 2011-07-21
  6. ^ "Drinking water in Asyut unfit for human consumption". 4 August 2009. Retrieved 23 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Habi Center for Environmental Rights (1 June 2011). "Report: 80% of Assiut residents drink unclean water". Retrieved 23 July 2011. 
  8. ^ "CIA - The World Factbook Life Expectancy". Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  9. ^ "Hepatitis C". World Health Organization (WHO). June 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  10. ^ Alter, MJ (2007-05-07). "Epidemiology of hepatitis C virus infection" (PDF). World journal of gastroenterology : WJG 13 (17): 2436–41.  
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ a b "Health Profile: Egypt". United States Agency for International Development (March 2008). Accessed September 7, 2008.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  13. ^ Yolande Knell (9 June 2010). "Egypt Introduces Alexandria Smoking Ban". BBC News. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  14. ^ Egypt Global Adult Tobacco Survey. "Tobacco Use in Egypt". Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  15. ^ Martorell, R (2000). Obesity in Women from Developing Countries. 
  16. ^ a b Galal, Osman M (2002). The Nutrition Transition in Egypt: Obesity, Undernutrition, and the Food Consumption Context. p. 147. 
  17. ^ El-Noshokaty, Amira (2003). Fighting Fat. 
  18. ^ Reem, Leila. What We Eat. 
  19. ^ Trafficking in north Africa: Boom boom

External links

  • World Health Organization (WHO) - Egypt
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