EGYPT – The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced the establishment of a malaria control project in South Sudan to be funded by the ministry’s Agency of Partnership for Development.

The announcement came after Egypt’s ambassador to Rwanda, Ahmed El Ansary, signed a memorandum of understanding to build an Egyptian center for heart surgeries in the Rwandan capital, Kigali.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that the center, which is the first of its kind in East Africa, would provide treatment for cardiovascular diseases, especially among children, training for medical staff and nurses, and biomedical research.

During the signing ceremony, Ansary said Egypt is keen on developing the health care sector in Rwanda and providing all kinds of support, driven by its commitment toward African countries.

This is not the first instance of African-Egyptian cooperation in the health sector. During a visit to Djibouti in May, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced that an Egyptian hospital will be set up in Djibouti in cooperation between the two countries.

Hani Raslan, head of the Nile Basin Studies Unit at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said the medical projects the Foreign Ministry recently announced are part of Egypt’s plan to provide services or transfer knowledge, training and expertise to Africa, and of a broader activity involving the promotion of bilateral relations.

This activity is not new. Egypt had previously launched an initiative to provide Hepatitis C treatment for 1 million Africans,” he added.

In March 2019, Sisi launched an initiative to eliminate hepatitis C among 1 million Africans at the Arab and African Youth Platform in Aswan.

The initiative to provide hepatitis C treatment for 1 million Africans is currently focused on three African countries, namely South Sudan, Eritrea and Chad, where more than 50,000 people received the treatment so far.

Rakha Hassan, a former assistant foreign minister and member of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, said the implementation of medical projects in some African countries and the provision of specialized health services to African citizens help promote their relations with Egypt at the popular and official levels.

Egypt is training doctors and nurses in some African countries and building Egyptian hospitals and medical centers in Djibouti and Rwanda, which is a great addition to the health sector there,” he said.

The Egyptian Health Ministry said that Health Minister Hala Zayed discussed a plan to produce the Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in Egypt and export them to the African continent after meeting domestic needs.

Zayed had said at a meeting for an African Union body, which she attended on behalf of Sisi in January, that Egypt is ready to meet the African countries’ need through its locally produced COVID-19 vaccines as soon as manufacturing starts.