Recently appointed Minister of Health Ahmed Emad El-Din decided that any photography within public hospitals is banned in a bid to prevent negative images of hospitals’ status.
He did not state whether the ban includes journalists as well.
The decision was made on Wednesday and circulated among local news websites on Saturday. According to Mahmoud Fouad, director of the civil rights group Right to Medicine, it was more of a recommendation to all health ministry workers.
“The decision is another form of corruption since it aims to hide deficiencies of health care facilities, which have become mass graves,” he told Daily News Egypt. “Images are supposed to help the ministry make decisions about development actions inside those facilities, but apparently the minister does not want to be disturbed.”
According to Fouad, the decision is not legally binding and is just an internal decision, so when someone attempts to take pictures he would be alerted.
Recently, following former prime minister Ibrahim Mehleb’s visit to the National Cardiac Centre, a group of doctors launched a Facebook page to crowdsource and publishes images and footage from public healthcare facilities.
The page drew over 100,000 likes soon after it was launched.
“Most of the pictures we received and published were from the patients and their families not from doctors,” the page commented in response to the decision.
They suggested some sort of cooperation between the ministry’s media office and their platform to send them pictures so they could take action against those in charge, instead of simply banning photography.
Egypt ranks 105th among countries with best life average, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The WHO reports revealed that in Egypt, there is only one doctor for every 357 citizens, and 17 beds for every 10,000 citizens.