On 3 December 2016, undersecretary of Egypt’s Doctors Syndicate Mona Mina was summoned on charges related to spreading false news. Mina was released on bail after four hours of questioning. According to her lawyer, Mina may be referred to further investigations or to court. On 14 January 2016, Egyptian police arrested Taher Mokthar, a member of the Freedoms Committee at the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, and his two roommates because of his research on prisoners’ health conditions in detention facilities and the unlawful detention of doctors. A member of the Doctors Union told DMI that authorities unlawfully detained around 319 doctors in 2013 and early 2014, following the removal of former president Mohamed Morsy. The majority of these doctors remain detained at the time of writing.
The government’s spending on health care decreased from 1.65 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in fiscal year 2015/2016 to 1.5 percent in 2016. This violates Article 18 of Egypt’s Constitution, which states that spending on health should not be less than 3 percent of the total GDP. Patients and their families frustrated with the quality of health services have begun to unleash their anger on health workers and facilities. According to the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, 85 attacks on public hospitals were reported to the police in the past two years. More than 53 health workers were injured in these incidents. While the majority of these attacks were perpetuated by patients and/or their families, in some cases police forces are found responsible. On 28 January 2016, police officers physically assaulted two doctors at Matariya Teaching Hospital in Cairo after they refused to falsify medical reports.
Additionally, inmates held at Egypt’s high security prison Tora 992, known as Scorpion prison, have no access to health care. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, at least six Scorpion inmates died in custody in 2015. Authorities refused to provide them with timely treatment or medicine deliveries. Inmates were banned from meeting with their families and lawyers between March and August 2015. Inmates who rely on their families for medicine were not able to receive it.