Egypt’s former Minister of Health and Population, and the country’s first female health minister, Maha El-Rabbat received the Heroine of Health Award at the World Health Summit on 17 October 2022.
El-Rabbat was awarded in recognition of her leadership and efforts in public health, both in Egypt and globally, following her nomination by Egypt’s branch of Women in Global Health (WGH), an international network of female medics that aims to empower and enhance medical industries across the world.
WGH campaigns and advocates for a plethora of problems facing women in the medical field – from equal representation in health leadership, to equitable pay, and the prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment.
The organization’s award ceremony intends to spotlight and celebrate female leaders in global health. El-Rabbat represents Egypt in WGH as the country’s national and global public health champion. She was previously selected as one of six special envoys to the World Health Organization’s Director General during the COVID-19 pandemic.
El-Rabbat, who also teaches public health as a professor at Cairo University, spent the entirety of her career advocating for Universal Health Coverage and equity in health.
“Achieving UHC, with its universal focus, is important from a development, human rights, and fairness perspective in meeting people’s health needs. Low and middle-income countries need to reach a stage where they are near to an equal footing with the rest of the world,” explained El-Rabbat in a press release.
Today, El-Rabbat, along with the rest of Egyptians, are witnessing the first stages of Egypt’s first universal health coverage – known as the Universal Health Insurance System (UHIS). This six-phase healthcare scheme began with a trial period in Port Said in 2018 and is scheduled to operate nationwide by 2027.
El-Rabbat joins 17 other female health leaders around the world in receiving the Heroine of Health Award, which includes recipients from Namibia, Brazil, Canada, India, Chile, the Philippines, and Lebanon.
Currently, the former Health Minister looks onward to securing a future where multi-sectoral cooperation and alignment is present in Egypt’s health programs, in hopes of providing for vulnerable segments of society.
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