A source in the Federation of Industries has told Al-Manassa that Egypt’s hospital oxygen crisis is due to the government’s failure to pay its 2 billion debt Egyptian Pound for medical supplies as coronavirus cases soar in the country.
This in spite of the fact that last year the IMF sanctioned a $2.2 billion loan to Egypt after it requested emergency financial assistance to contend with problems arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the anonymous source, there are 53 companies’ currently manufacturing oxygen and medical devices at the request of Egypt.
The source says some of the companies are refusing to supply anything else until they are paid, whereas some have continued given the resolution of the situation.
Some of them are afraid to terminate the supply in case they are blacklisted and not used again in the future.
The news comes despite the Finance Minister Mohamed Maait’s order to the government to pay half of the debt immediately and the other half in June.
The first half of the payment is yet to be received by the companies.
Hala Zayed later confessed that there was an oxygen crisis in hospitals and that she would endeavour to put in place a digital system so that medics could check oxygen levels around the clock.
She also announced that there is now an ample supply of oxygen, but Al-Manassa refutes that, reporting that there is actually still a shortage and an oxygen crisis.
The oxygen crisis has steadily deteriorated in Egypt’s hospitals, with citizens reporting that they are purchasing and storing their own oxygen cylinders. Since the start of the pandemic Egypt’s doctors have warned about the severe scarcity of urgent medical supplies, including oxygen.
Zayed went on to ban smart phones in hospital wards and hospital administrators began seizing mobiles from patients when they are admitted until when they are discharged.
The crisis reached its peak earlier this month when an entire ICU isolation ward died after the amount of oxygen, and the pressure, dipped too low.
Egypt’s health minister tried to cover it up by blaming the Muslim Brotherhood for spreading rumours, but a widely shared video taken by one of the patients’ family members went viral and caused an uproar in the country.
Compiled By Yazdaan Khan