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Egypt: Attacks on medics raise concerns over violence against health workers

As attacks on medical facilities and workers increase, government officials propose draft law to punish culprits
A man walks outside Aswan University Hospital in Egypt's southern city of Aswan, 13 April 2022 (AFP)
A man walks outside Egypt's Aswan University Hospital, Aswan, 13 April 2022 (AFP)

An attack on two Egyptian doctors over the weekend has raised concerns about an ongoing wave of violence against medical workers in the country.

In one incident on Sunday, a man attacked a doctor at Suez General Hospital, who was working as an obstetrician and gynaecologist, causing a fracture to his arm.

Local media reported that the doctor had given a woman an appointment in September to give birth, while she argued that she was told it should be on 24 August.

Moments later, her husband attacked the doctor while he was seeing other patients.

The doctor reported the assailant to the police.

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In a separate incident on Sunday, an Egyptian man, described by authorities as "a known thug", attacked a doctor in an A&E unit in the city of Hilwan, south of Cairo. 

The man, who fled the scene, injured the doctor's shoulder. He also attempted to assault three security guards at the hospital with a knife, and used a dog to scare them before fleeing.

Rising wave of attacks

Assaults on Egypt's medical workers have been on the rise in recent weeks. 

Ayman Abu al-Ula, the undersecretary of the Human Rights Committee in Egypt's House of Representatives, said on Sunday that he had submitted a draft law to punish and penalise any attack on medical facilities and workers.

Abu al-Ula added that the law would include imprisonment and compensation, and would protect doctors and medical workers as if they were public employees in governmental funded institutions.

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He called the minister of interior to set up CCTV cameras in reception halls at the medical centres to record cases of assaults on doctors and hospital staff.

"Everyone sympathises with the doctor," Abu al-Ula said, "and Egypt is a state of law, and it is not right for anyone to take his right by force. Rather, he must resort to the law in the event of an error or negligence on the part of any doctor."

Early in August, six people attacked a doctor working at a private clinic in al-Mansoura town, before fleeing.

Also, in Hilwan, a doctor and three hospital workers were injured after a man attacked them with a knife in al-Nasr hospital.

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