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Egypt’s health challenges disproportionately affect the rural poor and have the potential to impact the country’s economic prosperity more broadly over the long term. Poor women are 20 percent less likely to receive regular antenatal care than wealthy women, and under-five mortality for children born in the wealthiest quintile is 19 deaths per 1,000 live births versus 42 deaths for the poorest. Current threats include high rates of childhood stunting and the highest rate of Hepatitis C in the world; seven percent of Egyptians between the ages of 15 and 59 suffer from chronic Hepatitis C.
Egypt’s 2014 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) recorded a globally unprecedented 17 percent increase in the country’s total fertility rate in the past six years, as well as a reduction in key best practices related to good maternal and child health such as early breastfeeding. Some of these trends can be linked to low-quality health care services, poor health behaviors, and weak management of health systems in the public sector.
USAID’s programs improve health behaviors, enhance the quality of health services, and help the Government of Egypt to guide policy and program design by supporting research and monitoring in key areas such as nutrition and infectious disease. USAID programs in Egypt place particular emphasis on poor and underserved populations, including women and youth; geographical areas where there are health disparities; and addressing gender inequalities in the health sector.
To improve health and promote a stronger workforce, key areas of intervention include maternal, neonatal, and child health and nutrition; emerging and infectious disease detection and response; health communication; and support for research to improve information on key health topics.
USAID assistance contributed to the following achievements in Egypt’s health sector:
- The elimination of polio in Egypt, which was declared polio-free in 2006.
- 9 in 10 children age 18-29 months are fully immunized against all major preventable childhood diseases.
- Under-five mortality was reduced by two thirds by 2010 – this met the Millennium Development Goal five years early.
- 9 in 10 women received antenatal care during their most recent pregnancy.
- More than 90% of births are attended by a skilled health care provider, usually in a health facility.
Maternal, neonatal, and child health and nutrition
Community Health Worker Training Project: USAID helps community health workers (CHWs) provide low cost interventions such as health education, counseling, and information sharing through home visits and at primary health centers on challenges such as malnutrition, stunting, and viral hepatitis. The activity supports urgent training needs of CHWs and operates in all governorates to provide new (mostly female) community health workers with the knowledge and skills required to perform their responsibilities. Implementing Partner: Ministry of Health; Life of Project: March 1, 2015-March 31, 2016; Total USAID Funding: $390,615; Bilateral Agreement: Healthier Planned Families (HPF).
Improving Maternal, Child Health, and Nutrition Services in Egypt: This activity complements the CHW Training Project by conducting a strategic review and assessment of Egypt’s National CHW Program, including the training curriculum, to map its strengths and weaknesses. The assessment will support the development of a comprehensive CHW strategy for Egypt and the project will provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Health to enable them to implement the recommendations, resulting in a stronger CHW program. Implementing Partner: JHPIEGO; Life of Project: April 19, 2015-April 30, 2018; Total USAID Funding: $3.5 million; Bilateral Agreement: HPF.
Integrated Perinatal and Child Health & Nutrition Program: Building on the success of previous USAID neonatal health projects, this activity works with the Ministry of Health to further reduce neonatal mortality and child malnutrition through improved access to essential maternal, neonatal, and child health and nutrition services in disadvantaged areas by upgrading facilities, training service providers, strengthening the health referral system, and improving community-level health awareness. Implementing Partner: UNICEF; Life of Project: July 17, 2012-December 31, 2015; Total Estimated Cost: $5.4 million; Bilateral Agreement: HPF.
Emerging and infectious disease detection and response
Program to Improve Quality and Safety of Healthcare in Egypt: This activity supports Ministry of Health (MOH) efforts to reduce the incidence of hospital-acquired infections through providing technical assistance to support the establishment of a national surveillance program for hospital-acquired infections and antimicrobial resistance. Covering 80 percent of eligible intensive care units in MOH and University Hospitals, this activity also supports hospitals to prevent the transmission of these infections. Implementing Partner: Naval Medical Research Unit 3; Life of Project: March 5, 2014-September 30, 2018; Total USAID Funding: $2.5 million; Bilateral Agreement: HPF.
Supporting Egypt’s National Polio Immunization Campaign: Egypt was declared a polio-free country in 2006, but since the total number of cases globally has increased in recent years, additional immunization campaigns are needed to prevent its return. USAID supports the logistics and operations of two MOH national polio immunization campaigns that will administer approximately 14.3 million vaccines to children under the age of five. Implementing Partner: Ministry of Health; Life of Project: March 30, 2014-March 30, 2016; Total USAID Funding: $9.1 million; Bilateral Agreement: HPF.
Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) Egypt: This program strengthens the capacity of the Ministry of Health (MOH) to design and implement mass media information campaigns using expertise and technology from across the public and private sectors to improve health behaviors. The project will conduct a capacity assessment of the MOH Health Communication Office and based on that assessment will provide training for MOH officials and health educators who will receive hands-on experience working on the design and implementation of a health campaign focused on topics such as Hepatitis C. Implementing Partner: Johns Hopkins University Center for Communications Programs; Life of Project: December 1, 2014-September 25, 2017; Total USAID Funding: $5 million; Bilateral Agreement: HPF.
Causes and Solutions to Address Stunting in Egypt: USAID supports research to identify the causes and potential solutions for child nutrition and stunting in Egypt. This project collects data on child malnutrition to inform future programmatic decisions. Implementing Partner: Tufts University Nutrition Lab; Life of Project: October 15, 2014-October 14, 2016; Total USAID Funding: $1.2 million; Bilateral Agreement: HPF.
2014 Egypt Demographic and Health Survey: USAID provides funding and technical assistance for the population-based Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), the “gold standard” for measuring global health and social indicators worldwide. Data collected through the DHS examines the relationship between health issues and other factors such as poverty, socio-economic status, place of residence, and gender. USAID is supporting the implementation and dissemination of the results from this DHS, the tenth such survey conducted in Egypt since 1988. Implementing Partner: MACRO International; Life of Project: July 2013-February 2016; Total USAID Funding: $4.8 million; Bilateral Agreement: HPF.
Last updated: January 06, 2016