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A revolution in an Egyptian hospital

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 01 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e576
  1. Mohammed Shafiq Ibrahim, doctor, neuropsychiatry, Manshiet El Bakry General Hospital, Cairo, Egypt
  1. solymr82{at}

Millions of Egyptians participated in the revolution, but only the doctors and nurses took part as professionals. We treated the injured in so called field hospitals created by the protesters in Tahrir Square and in public hospitals. We took this experience back to our hospitals after Mubarak fell in February 2011 and started the fight to improve our health service and to raise state health spending from 3.5% of the budget to 10% (the Egyptian government pledged 15% in the 2001 Abuja Declaration).

We achieved amazing things during these campaigns at the hospital where I work as a neuropsychiatrist. Manshiet el Bakry is a state funded general hospital with 90 beds, serving 1000 outpatients daily in Heliopolis.

 At first it was hard to convince all hospital staff that they needed to join an independent union to defend their interests. A petition campaign was started to support doctors’ demands after Mubarak’s fall. Nurses and other staff wanted to sign. Initially the doctors refused, but other staff insisted. Discussions began …

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