Egyptian govt encourages women to avoid pregnancy during COVID-19

Egyptian health workers collect samples at a drive-through coronavirus- testing center at the Ain Shams University in Cairo on Monday. (AFP)
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Updated 30 June 2020

Egyptian govt encourages women to avoid pregnancy during COVID-19

  • The ministry explained that health units provided various birth control methods, including the Implanon capsule, a long-term method that lasts for three years

CAIRO: The Ministry of Health in Egypt has called on women to postpone their pregnancies because of the coronavirus.
The ministry issued a statement saying that delaying pregnancy during the spread of COVID-19 was a necessity. It said new discoveries have linked the virus to blood clots that may affect the placenta and the fetus’ nutrition.
The statement said that pregnancy may cause the indirect weakening of the immune system, making pregnant women vulnerable to the virus.
“Use of contraceptives can be used to temporarily prevent pregnancy,” the statement said.
The ministry also underlined the significance of staying active, relaxed and rested during the pregnancy. It said walking was considered the best form of exercise for pregnant women but that during the spread of the coronavirus it was not recommended that pregnant women leave home except for absolute necessities to avoid infection.
The ministry explained that health units provided various birth control methods, including the Implanon capsule, a long-term method that lasts for three years. The capsule can be implanted easily and without a surgical procedure by specialized doctors in less than three minutes.
The ministry confirmed that the capsule is suitable for most women as well as breastfeeding mothers, and is sold for five Egyptian pounds ($0.30).
Egyptian doctor Zainab Abdel-Meguid, 40, said that the Health Ministry’s statement was correct but should have been issued earlier, when the virus initially emerged in Egypt in February, given the extreme risk that a pregnant woman may face.
Government employee Wagida Abdel-Latif said that the government’s announcement was important due to an already overwhelmed Egyptian health care system and its inability to accommodate patients who are suffering from the coronavirus.
Abdel-Latif is a mother of two, but said that even if she was not a mother she would have responded to the government’s request to postpone getting pregnant for her own safety and the safety of her future children.
Mervat Abdel-Karim, 29, does not agree with the ministry’s decision. She told Arab News that she is newly married, and that she disagrees with the ministry’s request because she wants to become a mother. Abdel-Karim’s husband shares her view as he wants to become a father.
Housewife Gamila Saeed has been trying to become pregnant for 14 years. But when she finally became pregnant, during her ninth month of pregnancy fears increased about her losing the fetus because of the virus.
The isolation hospital in the village of Sinbillawain, in Daqahlia governorate in north Cairo, witnessed a birth days before the mother’s isolation period ended.
Dr. Mohamed El-Surugi, director of Al-Sinbillawain Hospital, explained that pregnant women suffering from the coronavirus are placed under continuous care even if the patient’s condition is stable, especially if the patient is nearing the end of her pregnancy.
He said that the patient’s condition remained stable while she was receiving treatment by the medical staff checking on the health of the fetus.
El-Surugi said that the delivery was supposed to be by caesarean due to the condition of the woman and the fetus, but the patient felt severe pain before her scheduled caesarean section, forcing the medical team to perform the operation earlier than expected.
Before childbirth a smear was taken from the woman to test if she was still carrying the virus. During the operation, preventive measures were taken to ensure her safety and that of the baby. After the operation, the smear results came back negative, much to the joy of the medical staff.


Full steam ahead for Egypt-Sudan rail network

Updated 31 min 35 sec ago

Full steam ahead for Egypt-Sudan rail network

  • Gateway project will open continent to new trade and jobs, says Cairo minister

CAIRO: Egypt’s Minister of Transport Kamel Al-Wazir has discussed plans with Sudanese counterpart Hashem bin Auf to build a cross-border railway network between the two neighboring countries.

The pair discussed terms of a joint cooperation document for railway connectivity, which aims to provide funding for an economic, social and environmental feasibility study for the project. The planned network will extend from the Egyptian city of Aswan across the southern border to Sudan’s Wadi Halfa in its first phase.

Funding will be organized through cooperation between Egypt, Sudan and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.

Al-Wazir signed the document and delivered it to the Sudanese ambassador in Cairo for signing by the country’s transport minister.

The two sides also discussed a number of road projects, including a prospective land road between Egypt and Chad through Sudan. 

The project aims to be a gateway for trade between the two countries, Chad and West Africa. 

The Cairo-Sudan-Cape Town road, which passes through nine African countries, was also mentioned by the ministers. Al-Wazir also said that Egypt is building a Cairo-Arqin road corridor inside its borders, which passes through the governorates of Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, Sohag, Qena, Luxor and Aswan, and then then extends to the Egyptian border, passing through the Toshka junctions to Arqin, parallel with Sudan.

He added that the new project is important in achieving land connectivity and increasing trade with African countries, as well as serving Egyptian and African citizens, opening new job opportunities and encouraging comprehensive development. The Sudanese side also requested cooperation with Egypt in maritime transport and the training of maritime cadres at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport.

Al-Wazir said that Egypt will provide its capabilities to train the workers, whether through the Arab Academy, Egyptian ports or the Egyptian Authority for Maritime Safety.

The two sides also agreed to hold a joint meeting to follow up on the progress of other cooperation projects and to discuss the development of the Nile Valley Authority for River Navigation.

Al-Wazir’s team said that the coming period should include urgent plans to develop the authority, train river workers and provide support through specialized technical cadres.