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Arabic press review: Half of Egypt's doctors left country in unprecedented brain drain

Meanwhile, UAE continues to hold detainees with expired sentences; US envoy says elections are the only solution to Libyan crisis; and Oman moves closer to digital currency
Egypt's doctors are mostly moving abroad for better pay (AFP/file photo)

Egypt: Fears for health sector after brain drain

The health sector in Egypt is at risk of collapse due to the unprecedented migration wave of Egyptian doctors, according to a report published by the Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper.

The latest statistics show that tens of thousands of doctors have left Egypt over the past three years, the London-based daily said.

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Their migration has turned into a crisis in the country, which prompted a member of parliament to submit a request for a public debate to clarify the government's policies on doctors leaving to work abroad.

MP Hazem El Gendy said during a parliamentary session this week that "during the recent period, especially the last three years, Egypt has witnessed an unprecedented migration wave of medical personnel, which trigger successive warnings, fears of the effects of these waves of migration on the Egyptian health system and the level of services provided to patients”.

He pointed out that the Doctors' Syndicate has repeatedly demanded the government take urgent steps to stop the mass migration of young doctors at a time of a severe deficit in their number and the small number of students being admitted to medical schools, all of which threaten the future of medical care in Egypt.

The lawmaker revealed statistics which show that about 110,000 doctors have left the country in the past three years - half of Egypt's estimated 215,000 doctors.

"The reason for the emigration of doctors is the low wages," he said, "as well as the low medical capacity and supplies inside public hospitals, despite the increase in budgets allocated to the medical sector and its tangible development - in addition to seeking better opportunities for scientific research and the lack of legal protection for doctors in the exercise of their profession, as many of them are subjected to verbal and sometimes physical abuse inside hospitals by patients' families.”

UAE still holds detainees with expired sentences

The sentences of a large number of detainees in the United Arab Emirates have expired, yet the authorities continue to detain them without any explicit justification or additional judicial judgments against them, according to a report published by Arabi21 website.

The detainees who remain in prisons despite the end of their sentences were arrested in 2012 and 2013, due to their membership of the Emirati al-Islah association, which at that time was calling for political reform in the country.

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The Federal Supreme Court of the UAE issued judgments of 10 years' imprisonment against some of them, which means that some of their sentences have now been served.

An Emirati human rights source said that the director of the Strategic Planning Office at the Department of Finance in Abu Dhabi, Ahmed Ghaith Al-Suwaidi, and the former director of the Judicial Inspection in Abu Dhabi, Ahmed Al-Zaabi, finished their 10-year sentences on 26 March, in addition to six other detainees who ended their sentences in the same month, according to Arabi21.

Moreover, seven other prisoners detained due to the al-Islah case had completed their sentences between 2017 and 2020, but the authorities continue to detain them.

The Emirati human rights source said that during the past few years, families of the detainees used to be informed by officials that there were real intentions to release them, either during religious occasions (Ramadan and holidays) or national occasions (National Day), according to Arabi 21. The source explained that all those promises were "false", and only a few detainees were released after the imposition of special conditions, including appearing on television programmes and providing information and "confessions about actions they did not commit".

On 2 July 2013, the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi issued its ruling in the case of the al-Islah, whose members were charged with “creating a secret organisation aimed at changing the regime”.

US envoy says elections are the only solution to Libyan crisis

The US special envoy to Libya, Ambassador Richard Norland, has stressed that the solution to the current political crisis in Libya is holding elections "as soon as possible", according to an interview with the Saudi Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

Norland said he believed that "elections may take place sooner than most people think".

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The US envoy refused to specify a position on the question of the "legitimacy" of the two competing governments in Libya, led by Abdul Hamid Dbeibah and Fathi Bashagha.

Norland issued a stern warning to those who obstruct the peace process, saying that those "whose actions undermine peace, security and stability in Libya risk being sanctioned and isolated".

The US envoy revealed that Washington is "in contact" with supporters of the late President Muammar Gaddafi, but he criticised Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who nominated himself for the presidential elections last December, which ultimately were not held. He said that Saif "is a person who has been charged by the International Criminal Court for committing crimes against humanity. He has also been convicted by a Libyan court for his deplorable actions against the Libyan people, such as incitement to murder and rape".

Oman to issue a digital currency

The Sultanate of Oman has announced serious steps towards the issue of a digital currency amid the escalating recovery of the cryptocurrency market, according to the Alkhaleej Online website.

The governor of the Central Bank of Oman, Tahir bin Salim bin Abdullah Al Amri, said that "the Central Bank is developing its digital currency and open banking services.

"The Central Bank of Oman is committed to supporting innovation and modernising the financial sector in a way that is conducive to financial stability", Amri added.

In October, the Shuoon newspaper reported that the Central Bank of Oman had launched a closed tender in preparation for issuing the Sultanate's digital currency. 

*Arabic press review is a digest of news reports not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye