Egyptians launch Twitter campaign against medication shortage

Egyptians launch Twitter campaign against medication shortage
Twitter users in Egypt have launched an online campaign to promote the right to medication amidst a severe shortage of certain medicaments in the country.
2 min read
07 Dec, 2015
Egypt complain about the lack of basic medications [AFP]

Egypt's Twitter users have launched an online campaign to protest against the lack of dozens of basic medications in the country.

Launched by journalist Mohamed al-Garhy late Saturday night, the Arabic-language hashtag "right to medication" made it to Twitter's top Egypt trends in less than 24 hours.

Translation: I appeal to your humanity. Medication is a right, and people suffer everyday due to its shortage. Patients are crushed between pharmaceutical companies and state agencies.

Translation: Let us pressure them and use the hashtag to make our voice heard, because people are dying.

Garhy also called on Twitter users to post the names of medications that are hard to find in Egypt's pharmacies and healthcare facilities.

On Sunday, the health ministry announced that the number of unavailable medications had reached 200 in November, in addition to 45 others that do not have alternatives.

Ahmed Bourhan Eddin, the head of one of Egypt's leading pharmaceutical companies, told BBC Arabic in May that the unavailability of medications was due to the lack of hard currencies needed to purchase raw materials.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former Egyptian Vice President Mohamed el-Baradei was among those who spoke out against the current crisis.

Translation: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including […] medical care.

Translation: What we spend on healthcare reflects a flagrant imbalance of priorities. The right to health is part of the right to life.

Egyptian journalist and political activist Rasha Azab also contributed to the hashtag.

Translation: The crisis of unavailable medications is bigger than we thought. Hospitals do not have enough to treat the patients, and pharmacies are trying to offer alternatives, but this will not last very long. We need an immediate solution.