Pandemic Preparedness in Egypt: An Analysis of Ministry of Health Policy and Stakeholder Perceptions

  • Wasiq Khan

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Health (DHealth)

Abstract

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has reinforced the persistent threat posed by respiratory pathogens with pandemic potential to human health and development. Different countries’ pandemic responses also demonstrate that no country is fully prepared for such events, and some health-systems are at greater risk of being affected than others.

In recent years, Egypt has witnessed recurring outbreaks of avian influenza A (H5N1). The World Health Organization classifies H5N1 in the alert phase of a potential pandemic, thereby necessitating preparedness. A combination of vulnerabilities make Egypt a hotspot for future outbreaks. There is inconclusive evidence on country’s state of preparedness, associated barriers and enablers.

This mixed-method case-study, using health policy and systems research lens, aims to identify such influencing factors and make practice recommendations.
Evidence indicates that preparedness is a common challenge faced by developing countries, including Egypt. The World Health Organization’s guidance and lessons from the past pandemics are documented. Preparedness research has used theories related to either individual behavior or functioning of systems.

This study uses a combination of grounded theory and theory of change to answer the research question. It analyzes documentary evidence and conducted key informant interviews (N=19) at the Egyptian Ministry of Health.

The findings indicate that despite recognition of the threat, the policy planning and system readiness for pandemics remains inadequate in Egypt. A complex combination of population behavior, organizational issues and health-system-wide factors undermine preparedness. Opportunities exist in the form of growing capacity and availability of tools in the health-sector, increasing awareness among the masses and support from international organizations.

Pandemic preparedness is complex, resource intensive but necessary. The study recommends that the Ministry of Health should set up a high-level coordination mechanism, pursue whole-of-Government approach, and proactively engage with non-Governmental sectors to strengthen preparedness.
Date of Award20 Jan 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorDavid Wainwright (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • Pandemic Preparedness, Egypt, Pandemic Policy & Systems Analysis

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