Egypt has opened the Middle East region's biggest hospital unit dedicated to the treatment of stroke patients. The new unit at Qasr al-Aini Medicine School in Cairo will treat patients for free, according to officials.
The inauguration ceremony on Sunday was conducted by Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Ashraf al-Shehy, along with the president of Cairo University Gaber Nassar.
Nassar said the new unit surpasses equivalent units dedicated to the treatment of strokes in United States and Spain.
Dr Fathy Khodair, dean of Qasr al-Aini Medicine School, said the stroke unit has 35 beds, serving 50,000 patients, including 12 beds for intensive care, and five for medium-level care. He said that between three and four cases would be received daily, and that all treatment would be provided for free.
The total cost of the unit is estimated at LE11 million, with personal donations making up around LE4.5 million, while the rest came from civil society organizations.
"Stroke Afflicts 210,000 Egyptians every year, 50,000 of them in Cairo, and results in the deaths of a large number of Egyptians, while survivors may face the nightmare of handicap for the rest of their lives," Shehy told reporters on Sunday.
"Qasr al-Aini faces a shortage in stroke units and this prompted us to develop a strategy for establishing this center on the latest international standards to provide medical services free of charge," he added.
The World Health Organization lists stroke as the second on its list of 10 biggest causes of death around the world.
Strokes are caused by the interruption of the blood supply to the brain, usually because a blood vessel bursts or is blocked by a clot, resulting in a loss of oxygen to the brain tissues. Strokes may cause varying degrees of brain damage and physical disability, while more serious strokes can cause death.