Hani al-Gamal – Cairo
A campaign has started in Egypt with the aim of offering support to those negatively affected by Covid-19.
This comes as Egyptian authorities have reportedly worked to keep a lid on infections and deaths from Covid-19. The campaign has focused on providing Covid-19 vaccines to poor Egyptians. Leading this effort is the ‘Long Live Egypt Fund’, a mechanism of the Egyptian presidency to implement development projects and to offer support to the poor. The Fund’s provisions are separate from the state budget.
The Fund’s Chief Executive, Tamer Abdel Fattah, stated that the fund would provide the money that was needed for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines for poor Egyptians. “We are estimating the cost of purchasing these vaccines at $129 million”, he told MedyaNews. He said his fund would target 10 million Egyptians with the new campaign which also includes the rebuilding of 1,280 homes in the poorest villages across Egypt.
Egypt started the inoculation of its medical staff members against Covid-19 on 24 January. Those working at the nation’s isolation hospitals were given priority. Egypt has opted to start the vaccination process with the Chinese Cinopharm vaccine. It is also buying other vaccines from other international producers in preparation for a public immunization process.
The Long Live Egypt Fund has received support from a large number of businesses and private sector leaders who have donated millions of dollars for the purchase of the Covid-19 vaccines. Some state institutions have also contributed to this initiative to vaccinate the poor against Covid-19, including the Supreme Judiciary Council, the body which regulates the work of the nation’s courts. The Council donated $645,000 to the Fund for this purpose recently.
Egypt has already received 100,000 doses of the Chinese Cinopharm vaccine from the United Arab Emirates where the vaccine is produced for the Middle East region. Ashraf al-Doadaa, the head of local NGO National Loyalty for Human Rights, underscored the importance of social participation in state efforts to make the Covid-19 vaccines available to the public, especially financially poor people.
“This is part of the social responsibility of the different businesses working in our country”, Doadaa told MedyaNews. “Participation by the private sector is the only way we can improve the living conditions of the poor”. Leading liver disease specialist Mohamed Ezz al-Arab agreed with this assessment, stating that the provision of the vaccine to 100 million people living in this country would be very costly for the Egyptian government. “This is why there is an urgent need for the private sector to contribute to this drive”, he said.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered state institutions to provide the vaccines for free to members of the public. The vaccines will be distributed to health service workers at the isolation hospitals first and then to elderly Egyptians, especially those with chronic diseases, before they are given to other members of the public. “Participation by the private sector and the civil society will help the government move ahead with the immunization process”, Ezz al-Arab said.