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child homelessness in Egypt
Egypt is a presidential republic in North Africa. Famous for its history, archaeological values and vast deserts, Egypt is one of the oldest countries in the world. However, Egypt went through a period of political, societal and economical turmoil during the 2010s. By 2011, former president Hosni Mubarak stepped down from his office, and between 2011 and 2018, the nation went through multiple presidents. All of this political and societal turmoil contributed to homelessness. In particular, child homelessness in Egypt is a pervasive issue.

Child Homelessness in Egypt

Child homelessness is an issue that has plagued the country for a long time. According to a survey conducted by Egypt’s National Center for Social and Criminological Research, there were an estimated three million homeless children in Egypt in 2011. The Egyptian government took measures to combat child homelessness, however. In 2003, the government adopted a new national strategy that aimed to protect and rehabilitate homeless children, also known as street children. This initiative aimed to alleviate child homelessness in the country through multiple coordinated projects between the government and NGOs.

While this initiative saw a relative amount of success, it is clear that there is still a long road ahead of alleviating child homelessness in Egypt. These homeless children are often in danger of sex trafficking, street begging and forced labor.

Life for Street Children

Poverty, unemployment, family breakdown, child abuse and neglect are some of the main causes of Egypt’s child homelessness crisis. While not all street children lack a stable family and a home to return to, the majority of the street children still live, work and sleep in the streets. A young woman interviewed by France 24 in 2017 said that she left her parents’ house when she was six years old because her father abused her. She has lived on the streets ever since. Unfortunately, this young woman’s story is not uncommon among street children.

However, life on the streets is still harsh. Many people in Egypt view street children as drug-addicts and criminals. As a result, there seems to be a general hesitation in donating to the NGOs and shelters that are trying to assist the homeless street children of Egypt. According to a 2010 study that interviewed a total of 857 street children in Cairo and Alexandria, 93% of the children stated that they faced harassment or abuse on the streets. Furthermore, the study found that 62% of the children used drugs. Among adolescent girls 15 to 17 years old, most of them stated that they had suffered sexual abuse.

Government Efforts

Fortunately, there are programs in place to help the street children of Egypt. In 2016, the government launched a project aimed to build shelters and educate street children. Egypt’s Ministry of Social Solidarity also launched the “Children Without Shelter” program. Ministry workers train street children in first-aid and try to collect any paperwork or identification which they can use to move the children into a shelter. Getting children into shelters is difficult because Egyptian law does not allow shelters to receive children who do not provide a birth certificate.

The government also created the “Protecting Homeless Children” program, which deploys 17 mobile bus teams that provide temporary medical and psychological services. If a child is able to be united with their family, a separate team keeps in touch with the child’s family.

Moving Forward

Street children of Egypt are the ones who are most vulnerable to homelessness in Egypt. These Egyptian street children, who ran away from abuse, neglect and poverty, face harsh realities living on the street. On top of lacking shelter and food, the homeless children of Egypt face discrimination and further abuse on the streets. Thankfully, the Egyptian government is taking measures to alleviate child homelessness in Egypt. Many hope for a future where child homelessness will be a story of the past in Egypt.

-YongJin Yi 
Photo: Flickr

The Fight Against Learning PovertyLearning poverty is defined as not being able to read or understand a simple text by the age of 10. It is common in developing countries. As of 2017, 262 million children from ages six to 17 were not in school. More than 50 percent of children are not meeting the minimum standards in reading and math. In addition, their teachers and the teaching quality have not improved over time. Especially elementary school teachers, who are arguably the most important. As a result of this plateau, around 750 million adults were illiterate as of 2016. The vast majority of them are women. The largest populations of illiterate people are in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Many schools in developing countries cannot provide efficient learning environments because they do not have access to computers, electricity, drinking water or basic facilities and infrastructure.

The UN Sustainable Development Goal 4

The United Nations created Sustainable Development Goal 4 to fully address the issue and solve the problem of learning poverty around the world. It consists of five pillars.

  1. Make sure students are prepared and motivated to learn: The first pillar focuses on motivating students to learn when they attend school. The parts that contribute to making this successful are Early Childhood Education (ECE), nutrition and stimulation. There has been much evidence to show that intervening during a child’s earliest years is the best time to build a strong foundation for the future, especially for children who are less fortunate than their peers.
  2. Effective teachers at every level: The second pillar focuses on increasing the number of quality teachers available. Incentives must be made more to entice more people to the field of teaching. Thus, improving its compensation policies and making it easier to transfer into will help with this issue. Selecting and hiring based on talent, effort and achievements will ensure that these are high-quality teachers. Once in a teaching position, teachers should continue to improve. Additionally, teachers should be educated on how to use tech resources.
  3. Equipped classrooms: The third pillar emphasizes on providing classrooms with a simple but efficient curriculum. This includes increasing access to books and technology and coaching. In addition, teachers are urged to “teach to the right level.” This means they should start with a one-size-fits-all approach and adapt to students’ needs as necessary. It enables children of all different learning levels and styles to learn at the same time. Teachers should also provide feedback to the students so they can further improve their personal education.
  4. Safe and inclusive: The fourth pillar focuses on maintaining a safe and inclusive environment for all students. Many countries are falling into crises, violence and fragility. Schools do not need to be added to the list of places where a child does not feel safe. An unsafe environment makes a child want to stay home. When they do attend, they are more unwilling to learn. Also, unsafe environments from violence or discrimination do not foster learning. As for inclusivity, teachers and staff should not stereotype a student based on their gender, race or disability. Schools must be inclusive to those who have trouble keeping up with their peers.
  5. Well-managed education systems: The fifth pillar is focused on good management in education systems. Principals should show how to further their careers and how to become better leaders for their schools. Moreover, there should be clear authority and accountability in schools.

The World Bank’s Literacy Policy

The World Bank has introduced a Literary Policy package outlining interventions to boost literacy. So far, a few countries have already started following it, including Egypt and Brazil. Egypt has begun the Egypt Education Reform Project. The project focuses on four core values:

  1. Expanding access to quality kindergarten
  2. Improving education delivery through digital learning content
  3. Developing educational professionals
  4. Developing computer-based assessment systems

There are many expectations for this program in the future. For example, the project predicts that it will be able to serve around 500,000 more kindergarten students including those from poorer districts. There will be a 50 percent improvement in early education. Additionally, there will be two million new quality teachers and two million students in secondary school.

Furthermore, the past 10 years have been good for Brazil as a result of its increased efforts in elementary school education. Their rate of learning poverty has been rapidly declining but is currently at 48 percent. Consequently, Brazil plans to increase quality and labor productivity. This necessitates increasing its quality of education. As a result, they are working on improving early education, teacher training and providing more financing.

Overcoming learning poverty is an essential step in the Sustainable Development Goals. It will not only improve the lives of the children learning but it will also decrease poverty rates and increase economic development. Hopefully, programs like the World Bank’s Literacy Policy and SDG 4 will motivate more countries to make education a priority.

Nyssa Jordan

Photo: Flickr

UNDP Provides Legal Aid in Egypt for Impoverished and Illiterate
For those who are poor or illiterate, understanding and using legal services is often difficult and preventative from obtaining justice. Since 2008, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has worked with the Ministry of Justice to provide free legal aid in Egypt for the impoverished and illiterate, establishing 35 Legal Aid Offices as of 2016.

Free Legal Aid in Egypt

This project focuses on disputes in family courts and handles cases that do not require an attorney. Without this help, those who are impoverished generally cannot afford legal services and the illiterate do not have the skills to successfully fill out the required paperwork. These two populations often intersect, as the poor are more likely to be illiterate.

Financed by UNDP and Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), over 50,000 cases in Egypt have now been assisted by free Legal Aid Offices.

The project also trains staff, holds roundtables for family court judges and assists with digitizing family court records. Approximately 17 training sessions and workshops for family court judges have been organized, reaching over 500 judges and legal aid employees.

Dispute Settlement offices have been upgraded as well, and employees have received training on dispute settlement skills, child rights and personal status laws. Additionally, efforts have been made to influence lawmakers to amend laws that would make the processing of cases more efficient and lead to cases being resolved more quickly.

New Goals, New Connections

Beginning in 2013, new goals were added to the project after an evaluation by an independent consultant of the free legal aid in Egypt. These goals include:

  • Developing adequate training programming
  • Improving court and case management
  • Modernizing hotlines in order to get feedback
  • Increasing dissemination of legal information
  • Designing outreach programs for both literate and illiterate women

The Ministry of Justice is working to establish a central electronic database of court decisions to link electronically to Egypt’s national bank. This connection would make payments awarded by the courts easier to collect.

In December 2014, UNDP, the Egyptian Ministry of Justice, the National Center for Judicial Studies, and the French Cultural Center in Egypt organized a workshop for legal aid employees. This workshop was “to strengthen participants’ knowledge of French legal framework for family mediation and introduce practical tools for mediation based on international best practices and relevance to local family courts.”

Legal Aid in Egypt Empowers Egyptian Women

Approximately one million cases are filed in Egyptian family courts each year, and 80 percent of those are brought by women. Therefore, the UNDP’s legal aid in Egypt is often for women in desperate need of legal services. In fact, over 70 percent of the 50,000 cases handled by the project were filed by women.

Without this support, women — particularly poor and illiterate women — often do not have the resources to settle marital or family disputes. Male family members or spouses can often get away with violent behavior or criminal acts if the woman they’ve harmed is barred from legal aid by a system not amenable to vulnerable populations.

Incidents of Personal Distress

For example, “Yasmin” is an Egyptian woman who faced legal difficulties after her ex-husband kidnapped her oldest daughter. She went to the court on multiple occasions, unable to find a resolution to this problem. However, with the free legal services provided by UNDP, Yasmin was finally able to file her claim in the family court system.

Another woman, Omaima Abdel Khaleq, utilized free legal aid in Egypt to file a domestic violence case against her husband. She explains, “The legal aid office made me aware of what exactly I should do instead of being lost among lawyers.”

Situations like these are not uncommon for women, and the project’s Legal Aid Offices help women complete the required paperwork, as well as provide legal advice about their rights and claims.

Helping the Impoverished and Illiterate

If an individual is illiterate, they are far less likely to be knowledgeable about the laws that protect them (or the person they wish to file a claim against). Without the help of an oftentimes unaffordable attorney or legal services, these people will not be able to access the information they need to correctly file a claim and obtain justice.

Project manager Gihane El Batouty states, “We are helping people themselves — and women themselves — with their legal rights.” UNDP wants to continue to grow this project, as it has become essential to helping the impoverished and illiterate, many of whom are women, access legal aid in Egypt.

Across the globe, UNDP supports similar initiatives in 54 other countries. This support reflects the organization’s commitment to making legal services available to vulnerable populations.

Sara Olk
Photo: Flickr

Five Development Projects in EgyptEgypt, a nation located in northeast Africa, has always been a country that has looked towards the future. In 2000, the Middle East Intelligence Bulletin nicknamed it the “Future Economic Powerhouse of the Arab World”, and it seems the future they were talking about is happening now. With five development projects in Egypt including housing, manufacturing and electrical infrastructure, Egypt is making its name in the modern world.

Egypt’s Growing Rail Infrastructure
Egypt’s Minister of Transportation, Dr. Hesham Arafat, spoke in March 2017 about its growing investments in the rail industry. Egypt will invest $16.73 billion into new high-speed rail projects that will link Hurghada to Luxor, Luxor to Cairo and Cairo to Alexandria.  The longest line, the one from Cairo to Luxor, will take five years to construct, while the one from Luxor to Hurghada will take four and the Alexandria to Cairo line taking three years.

Dr. Arafat stated that “These three lines are proposed for promoting tourist activity that is expected to reach more than 30 million tourists per year by 2025”. By providing quick and easy transportation, this will keep tourists off the roadways and allow tourists to more easily explore Egyptian culture.

Egypt Advances Its Solar Projects
With technology relating to solar energy becoming cheaper and more advanced, Egypt’s Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker hopes to fund solar development projects in Egypt. Their goal by 2022 is to have 20 percent of Egypt’s energy supply come from renewable energy sources, including solar. ACWA Power, a Saudi Arabian electricity company, is developing and building three solar plants with a 120MW capacity in northern Aswan. These three plants alone will provide power to 80,000 households and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 156,000 tons per year.

New Jobs Through Manufacturing
Egypt has recently restructured its subsidies and liberalized the exchange rate, which has earned it attention from manufacturing companies, including General Electric. General Electric’s CEO in Egypt and North Africa, Ayman Khattab, announced that it will be providing 100 locomotives to the Egyptian Railway Authority.

The benefit to Egypt is not only the locomotives, but the fact with the help of the Arab Organization for Industrialization, 50 of these locomotives will be assembled in Egypt. This will provide Egyptians with jobs, and if things go well with this project, it opens the doors for Egypt to take on more manufacturing projects for other companies.

New Cairo Will House Five Million
By the year 2050, the United Nations predicts the nearly 6.5 billion people will be living in cities. To accommodate this change, Egypt is developing New Cairo Capital, a collection of 21 residential districts that can provide housing to five million people. Besides the housing, these districts will have 1,250 mosques and churches, 2,000 schools and colleges and 600 medical facilities. This project, costing $45 billion in total, will be completed by 2022.

Egypt Continues to Build Its New Roadway System
The last of the five development projects in Egypt is a new roadway system. Egyptian roads are crowded with those providing goods; providing alternate highways allows fast transportation for regular commuters. 1,154km of new roadways are in the process of design and construction, with 400km of this being dedicated to a link between Cairo and Assiut. A 37km link will be built alongside the Cairo-Suez highway to help take some of the traffic load off that highway. In total, this project is expected to cost $524.3 million.

– Scott Kesselring

Photo: Flickr

The Egyptian Economy

Since the Arab Spring rocked the Middle East in 2011, the countries fortunate enough to avoid devastating civil war were nonetheless impacted by the political turmoil in the region. Egypt was no exception.

However, even with several issues persisting in the Egyptian political and security spheres, the country looks to move forward with privatizing more sectors of its economy and has an overall positive economic outlook. The Egyptian economy, which has suffered from decades of bloated public sector employment, looks to revitalize its push for privatization in various sectors.

“That is the brake on reform,” said an anonymous government official in 2010, before the Arab Spring movement. His comments were about the overreliance on public sector employment. “They have grown up with the state doing everything: ‘You educate me, give me a degree, you give me a job when I die you bury me — and I do nothing.'” While public sector employment is not altogether negative, private sector companies need to flourish if there any hopes for growth.

In 2017, the privatization of the Egyptian economy is being rebooted by the government after encountering setbacks in years prior. The political fallout of the Arab Spring and subsequent policies undertaken by the Morsi and Sisi administrations had left a bad taste in the mouths of Egyptians regarding privatization.

However, after a tragic train collision this year on a government-owned rail line, it was understood that something needed to be done. Officials began drafting new laws that would allow private companies to improve existing lines, as well as permit them to operate their stations. This will inevitably lead to the creation of jobs for Egyptians, a population that still suffers from almost 12 percent unemployment. Fortunately, this is the lowest it has been since the 2011 uprisings.

The Egyptian economy is slowly becoming a destination for foreign investment as well, even beating out South Africa for the top spot on the continent. In tandem with government reforms and an improving business climate, Egypt is attracting large sums of foreign money, most notably from Beijing.

“Currently [the European Union] is the biggest but I think China investors will grow rapidly… We’re in discussion with major players in terms of textiles and automotive. Those are two main projects we are in discussions with,” stated Trade Minister Tarek Kabil. This is in line with China’s growing presence on the continent.

Tourism is one of Egypt’s largest industries, and it has taken a severe hit since 2011. Fortunately, the country is seeing a slight uptick in tourism due to cheaper hotel deals as a result of certain currency policies. While the security situation continues to be a major factor in deterring potential tourists, this short-term low-cost trend will assist the tourism sector, which is a major pillar of the Egyptian economy.

The Egyptian economy undoubtedly suffered enormous setbacks in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. However, its position as the most populous Arab country paired with a strong economic outlook will allow Egyptians to look to the future with optimism.

Daniel Cavins

Photo: Flickr

Egypt's Rate of Poverty
As far as issues of finance are concerned, Egypt has some progress to make. Egypt’s rate of poverty leaves 27.8 percent of its citizens falling below the poverty line. This being said, the severity of poverty in Egypt varies according to location. Upper Egypt experiences poverty at a higher level than that of lower Egypt.

Some of the causes behind this elevated amount of poverty lie in the inflation of food prices, the significant number of Egyptian citizens who are illiterate and the fact that many Egyptian families are larger with many members to care for.

Thankfully around 4.6 percent of Egyptians were saved from falling into poverty thanks to government assistance with food costs. To make Egypt’s rate of poverty less severe, a reform program was introduced in 2014 designed to better their businesses and promote economic growth.

This reform program has expanded Egypt’s Takaful and Karama program, which is an assistance program that helps women with children and the elderly who are poor. The benefits of this program are set to reach 1.7 million households this year alone.

There are also several projects going on to improve living in Egypt. For example, in 2015, the Inclusive Housing Finance Program was approved, which works to improve housing affordability for those in Egypt who are living in poverty.

While steps are being taken to improve the economic situation in Egypt, a substantial amount of progress must be made to obtain anticipated goals. Egypt continues to struggle with contributing poverty factors such as gender inequality and environmental issues.

A plan called “Egypt’s Vision 2030” has been developed to assure that significant changes will be made and that the effects of these changes will be seen in the next few decades. With all of the work that is going into making sure Egypt’s rate of poverty begins to decrease, the effects of these substantial changes will hopefully be seen shortly.

Noel Mcdavid

Photo: Flickr

How to Help People in EgyptEgypt has had issues for many years that cause the country to be undeveloped. Some of these issues have to do with the political instability, the poverty rate and the recent refugee crisis. With all of these issues there are multiple organizations work to provide aid for those in need in Egypt. Here is how to help people in Egypt.

There are a few issues that impact Egypt’s people today. Political instability is one of these issues. These political issues cause an inequality in the economy and lack of opportunities. There is a concentration on tourism as a source of income for the county in the Sinai region. However, there are not many working opportunities for other areas.

This causes another issue of widespread poverty. According to recent national statistics, 25 percent of the 82 million people are poor, and 30 percent of the population is illiterate. People in rural areas are affected the most, as there are less opportunities for work.

Most recently, the issue of the refugee crisis has been affecting Egypt’s people. With so many people in poverty already, the added number of people without homes and jobs is an added strain on the country’s economy. Refugee children, similar to impoverished Egyptian children, are not able to get the proper schooling and often remain illiterate.

There are many different ways to help people in need in developing countries; here is how to help people in Egypt. A great way to spread impact to people in need is through organizations such as CARE and Save the Children. CARE promotes education, resource management, government engagement and protects vulnerable groups including women and refugees. Save the Children focuses on young generation and promotes children’s good health and nourishment.

By supporting organizations such as these people in Egypt can get the help they need in order to decrease poverty levels, have their voices heard in the government and eventually lessen the economic gap.

Deanna Wetmore

Photo: Flickr

Traditional Production in EgyptFor centuries, Egypt has been rich in culture and tradition. These factors seemed to hold Egypt back developmentally until 2009, when the United Nations saw an opportunity for heritage to lift people out of poverty. Since then, the MDG-F Culture and Development Joint Programmes have been implemented in four participating Arab states, including Egypt. This plan allowed one small village in Egypt to complete four of the eight Millennium Development Goals. Below is the outlined success of this traditional production in Egypt.

MDG 1-Eradicate Extreme Poverty
The first goal completed through this project was the elimination of extreme poverty. Individuals in Dahshur, Egypt were lifted out of poverty through the creation of hand-crafted items. The project generated employment and income through seven innovative industries and participants were trained in hand-crafted production. Manufacturing of goods included embroidery, handmade carpets and crafts.

MDG 3-Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
70 percent of the 200 people participating in the Egypt development plan were women. This empowered women – who were predominantly from traditional families – to learn new skills and use original resources. The project also encouraged women to make decisions and generate an income for the first time. Results led to a significant reduction in gender disparity.

MDG 7-Ensure Environmental Sustainability
After rigorous training, participants were told to collect their own raw materials. They then had to prepare them for production and create the final product. Cultural goods included embroidery, tailoring, flooring and beads. Over time, it is predicted that womens’ skills will improve which will make it possible to produce the goods at a higher rate. Once this happens, goods will be sold to the travel division which promotes eco-friendly tourism.

MDG 8-Develop Global Partnership for Development
The MDG-F Culture and Development Joint Programme in Egypt fostered community involvement in cultural development. This created reliable networks, partnerships and interactions. The project also raised awareness about the MDGs and promoted the culture’s influence to their success.

Many positive results have been achieved and continue to grow through traditional production in Egypt. The plan ended in 2013 but a Local Economic Development Forum has successfully been registered as a non-governmental organization (NGO) and will continue to function. Additionally, local NGOs are ready to duplicate their training for other groups, promoting increased success.

Emilee Wessel

Photo: Google

Cost of Living in Egypt
According to XE, a website that tracks the exchange rates of countries worldwide using “live mid-market rates,” a single U.S. dollar equals E£ 17.86 (Egyptian Pounds). Given how said markets are alway liable to change, this information is accurate at the time of writing. Below are five aspects of Egyptian life and how much they cost.

1. Housing:
According to Expatistan, a website that compiles information provided by expatriates, rent for a furnished 900 square-foot apartment in Cairo costs E£ 5,700 ($319) in what is categorized as an expensive area. The same accommodations in a normal area go for about E£ 3,005 ($165) a month. Utilities for two tenants costs approximately E£ 596 ($33) per month.

2. Utilities: If someone wanted to live in a furnished studio (480 square feet), it would cost E£ 3,867 ($217) in an expensive area and E£ 1,651 ($92) in a regular area. A single tenant’s utility bill comes out to E£ 452 ($25). High-speed internet (8 MBps) costs E£ 277 ($16) a month.

3. Food:
Going by Expatistan’s index for the cost of living in Egypt, food prices are relatively inexpensive. They tend to hover around the E£ 7 (37 cents), which is the cost two pounds of potatoes up to E£ 55 ($3.06), which is the cost of a fast food combo meal. The most expensive items are lunch menu items in Cairo’s business district and a bottle of decent red table wine, E£ 124 ($7) and E£ 149 ($8), respectively.

4. Transportation:
In Egypt, a monthly bus pass runs at about E£ 245 ($14). Taking a five-mile taxi ride during a business day is E£ 34 ($1.89). If one would rather have more control over their transportation, they could purchase a new car for E£ 418,055 ($23,407), with a liter of gas costing E£ 3.92 (22 cents).

5. Schooling:
Egypt’s schooling system adheres to a 6+3+3 framework, meaning “6 years of primary school, 3 years of secondary school and 3 years of senior secondary school.” Education is mandatory for children aged six to fourteen and goes from grades one through nine.

According to Numbeo, another site that provides costs of living indexes for countries worldwide based on a multitude of submissions, private preschool costs E£ 2,114.84 ($118.48) a month for a single child. Yearly tuition at an international private school is listed as E£ 40,486.49 ($2,268.15) for one child.

Overall, the cost of living in Egypt seems relatively balanced. However, it is important to keep in mind that individuals determine affordability.

Jada Haynes

Photo: Flickr

Common Diseases in Egypt
According to the CIA World Factbook, the four most common diseases in Egypt are bacterial diarrhea, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and schistosomiasis. People in the country are at intermediate risk for contracting these illnesses.

Bacterial diarrhea, also referred to as bacterial gastroenteritis, is a stomach and intestine infection. It is spread through eating or drinking contaminated food and water. Depending on which bacteria are ingested, different symptoms may surface. The symptoms most associated with bacterial diarrhea are abdominal pain/cramps, loss of appetite, bloody stool, nausea and vomiting.

Fortunately, it only takes a couple of days for someone to recover from this infection fully. In the meantime, they should ward off dehydration by drinking enough fluids and getting enough rest, especially young children. If nausea and vomiting are preventing someone from getting their fluids, getting fluids via IV is also an option.

Enteric fever, more commonly known as typhoid fever, is a life-threatening bacterial disease. People carry the Salmonella Typhi in their bloodstream and intestinal tract. When carriers or infected individuals shed the bacteria in their stool, they can infect others by handling food or drinks. People can also be infected if they wash food with or drink contaminated water.

Symptoms of typhoid fever include feelings of weakness, headaches, stomach pains, loss of appetite and, in some cases, rashes. Because these symptoms are not unique to typhoid fever, getting stool or blood samples tested is the best way to know if someone is infected.

There are vaccines and antibiotics available to prevent and treat typhoid fever.

Another one of the most common diseases in Egypt is hepatitis A. The hepatitis A virus causes viral liver disease. It is transmitted by ingesting contaminated food and water or direct contact with an infected individual.

While hepatitis A by itself is rarely fatal and does not cause chronic liver disease, it can cause incapacitating symptoms and fatal acute liver failure if left untreated. Symptoms of hepatits A include jaundice, malaise, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort and dark-colored urine. These symptoms can manifest as anywhere from mild to severe.

At the time of writing, there is no cure for hepatitis A, only preventative methods. These include drinking clean water, proper disposal of sewage materials and practicing good hygiene with clean water.

Schistosomiasis, also referred to as bilharzia, is a chronic and acute disease brought on by parasitic worms. Anyone who comes into contact with infected water is at risk of contracting it.

In reaction to the invading worms’ eggs, an infected person can experience diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloody stool. In extreme cases, there may also be liver and/or spleen enlargement. Children are at risk of having their growth stunted, developing learning complications and anemia. Fortunately, treatment can typically undo these effects.

As of now, ingesting clean water, avoiding exposure to contaminated water, similar preventative measures and taking the prescribed medications are the ways to deal with schistosomiasis.

While the most common diseases in Egypt may not all have cures, they are certainly not a death sentence. With proper preventative care and medication, people can wrest control of their bodies from these illnesses.

Jada Haynes

Photo: Flickr