Healthcare in Cairo

How to find a General Practitioner, doctor, physician in Cairo

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Ancient Egyptian medicine was quite progressive and highly advanced for the time. They had developed non-invasive surgery, setting of bones, and extensive set of pharmacopoeia. Modern health care is not quite as progressive, but nearly all Egyptians have access to health care. Serious diseases persists in the form of: schistosomiasis, malaria, hookworm, trachoma, tuberculosis, dysentery, beriberi, and typhus.

The Health Care System

Cairo's health care system is Egypt's main center for medical treatment and has the most advanced level of medical care in the country, but that is still below the standard many expats are accustomed to. The Ministry of Health and the Health Insurance Organization (HIO) administer the system.

Egypt is working to provide a public health care system. Years ago, the HIO was created to do so as an umbrella organization providing all Egyptians with insurance and care. Yet today it covers only government employees and school-age children. There is a push to implement a wider network of public care systems, but many people still rely on private facilities. Most Egyptians prefer to see private doctors for check-ups and outpatient care. For inpatient care, about 90 percent of inpatient beds are in public medical facilities. Serious medical problems often require air evacuation to a country with more state-of-the-art medical facilities.

Health Concerns

Many people live long healthy lives in Egypt and there is no reason to worry, but you should be prepared for possible issues.

  • Avoid drinking or cooking with tap water as there may be contaminates. Bottled water is plentiful and inexpensive. It is possible to purchase washes that should deactivate poisons at pharmacies.
  • Many expats avoid purchasing food or drink from street vendors. This is missing a wonderful aspect of Egypt, but may help avoid uncomfortableness and illness. Routines like hand washing, refrigeration and eating food immediately after it was prepared should be adhered to.
  • Pollution problems, such as smog, can reach extreme levels. It is worst in late summer and fall before the rains.
  • Summer heat can be extreme so make sure to stay hydrated and avoid dehydration or sun stroke,
  • Mosquitos are always a threat for spreading disease and are the worst outside of the city or in undeveloped areas. Some people use repellant or netting to prevent bites.

General Practitioner/Doctor

Doctors in Egypt have often undergone Western-training and are familiar with modern techniques and English. Many students from the surrounding Arab countries and Africa come to study medicine at universities in Egypt.

How to Find a Doctor

Asking for referrals is one of the best ways to find a doctor in your area. Ask friends, neighbors, and co-workers. You may also check out recommendations on the forum, as well as the networking tool. The embassy or consulate, or your insurance company, can offer approved listings as well.

Several search engines provide contact info and listings for doctors in Cairo:


Most doctors and hospitals expect payment in cash, regardless of whether you have insurance. Get receipts for later reimbursement. Private hospitals usually accept medical insurance policies as long as the coverage extends to treatment received abroad. Check your policy before leaving abroad, or look into purchasing travel/international insurance.

Update 4/12/2011


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Expatriate health insurance

Expatriate health insurance in Egypt

With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Cairo is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in Egypt. So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover! works in partnership with APRIL International to provide specific insurance solutions for travelling or staying outside your country of nationality.

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Designed for either short or long stays, APRIL International’s insurance policies offer protection against any problems that might arise before departure or during your time in Egypt: cancelling your trip, medical expenses following an illness or accident, needing to be repatriated, causing damage to a third party or losing your luggage.

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