Lawyers from the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights filed a lawsuit, No.72478, at the Court of Administrative Affairs against the President of the Republic, the President of the Council of Ministers, the Minister of Health, and the Head of Public Administration for Specialized Medical Boards, all in their capacity, for their unwillingness to enable an Egyptian citizen of her right to treatment at the expense of the state.
The citizen, represented by ECESR lawyers in the lawsuit, suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, one of the most prevalent nervous system disease in Egypt and is considered a chronic neurological condition requiring expensive treatment. MS could also be treated by Interferons, which were included in state funded treatment through a decision by the health minister in 2010.
However, despite telegraphic applications by the client to the authorities subject of the lawsuit, requesting her enabling with the right to treatment at the expense of the state, none of the mentioned authorities provided a response. The lawsuit at the administrative courts challenges their negative decision to refrain from fulfilling their obligations, as set by the constitution and the law, to provide health care for the plaintiff.
The action is based on the negative decision’s violation of the Egyptian constitution in Article 33, which prohibits discrimination between citizens, Article 62, which states that healthcare is the right of all citizens, and 66, which stipulates state guarantees to the provision of social security services. Additionally, it is in violation of the spirit of Article 159, Item 8, which compels the Council of Ministers to protect citizens’ rights, as set by the constitution, including the right to health.
The lawsuit is also based on the decision’s violation of Egyptian Law and international conventions ratified by Egypt: the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, the International Covenant for Social, Economic, and Cultural Rights, the African Charter for Human RIghts, and the Constitution of the World Health Organization. It was also based on the fact that the contested decision is marred with the perversion of authority, according to the definition of past decisions of the administrative courts.
In filing this lawsuit, ECESR aims directly to enable the plaintiff with her right to treatment at the expense of the state and reparations for damages incurred, which threatens her life by denying her of the necessary treatment. This lawsuit aims to create a precedent by obliging the state by law to protect its citizens’ right to health care, as set by the constitution and international charters and conventions.
ECESR also aims to attract more attention from Egyptian public opinion to one of the primary problems faced by Egyptian society. It is the accumulated heritage of the state’s neglect of its responsibility to provide heath care for its citizens and what it entails of the suffering of millions of Egyptians morally and financially, and more importantly the thousands of lost lives due to denying citizens of their basic right to health care, without discrimination on the basis of the financial ability to pay for this service.