Reproductive Healthcare for Women


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Barbara Nesbitt: “Hi, I’m Barbara Nesbitt and I’m at FIGO. I am with Professor Ali Abdel-Megeid, who is a good friend of our friend Dr. Moussa from Egypt. Please tell us a little about your background and where you are from, doctor.”

Dr. Abdel-Megeid: “I am, as you already said, from Egypt. The situation of my background is I went to Cairo Medical School then I also went to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where I have a Master Degree in Epidemiology. My interest shifted from directly working in the clinical work and the clinical side to the preventative side work as the public has issues that I’m dealing with. After ten years or more of practice in medicine as an obstetrician, I really joined different organizations that are working with different women’s issues and to improve the reproductive health for women. That where I originally worked as Medical Director of clinical services Improvement project (CSI), a USAIDFUNDED PROJECT IN Egypt. Then I worked in Tunisia as a Reproductive Health Advisor for four years for International planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) where I was looking after different Reproductive Health Programs in 14 Arab countries. Then I joined the John Snow Inc. which is an international American organization working all over the world, and I’m working with them on a big project in Egypt for reducing maternal mortality.”

Barbara Nesbitt: “You’re working along with Professor Fathalla with the Save the Mother’s Foundation, is that correct or is this another area that you’re involved in?”

Dr. Abdel-Megeid: “Yes, exactly, in the same area and the same goal.”

Barbara Nesbitt: “To prevent fatalities amongst pregnant women.”

Dr. Abdel-Megeid: “That’s right, the main goal of our project is to reduce maternal mortality and newborn/prenatal mortality also in Egypt, and specifically in upper Egypt. The area of upper Egypt is more rural and has less privileges than large cities”

Barbara Nesbitt: “To a hospital, I’d say if someone lived in Cairo.”

Dr. Abdel-Megeid: “Yes, that’s right. So basically what we are doing with our activity in this project, which is supported by the USCID and also by the government, which we are working together with. There's two main activities. The first one is to visit the rural community where we are informing the women and the community about the dangerous signs during pregnancy, delivery, and post-delivery and to mobilize the community to try to be aware and to seek care at the right time and not to be late to save the woman’s life. 

The other area is related to the improvement of the quality of service provided to the women when they are arriving at the health facility. So we are bringing training for doctors, developing protocols for management of cases, and developing training modules based on competence based training modules and based on this protocols so we can standardize the management of cases as they arrive to these hospitals and to ensure that they are providing the best of care possible. In that sense. So through these two arms of activity, we’re hoping that we’re reducing the maternal mortality. In Egypt, the last figure of maternal mortality is 174 per 100,000 life births and that was the first national maternal mortality survey done in 1992-1993. We are now doing the second national maternal mortality survey in the year 2000. We’re expecting the results to appear in April of next year, and we hope that it will become as a reward for us that we can see that the maternal mortality will be reduced.”

Barbara Nesbitt: “That’s wonderful. You have a lot of physicians in Egypt that are involved with There’s a lot of interest in the ob-gyn community over there working with women so you’re expecting a real drop in that figure from the nineties to now, wouldn’t you say? I mean a really good result from all you’ve done.”

Dr. Abdel-Megeid: “Yes, that’s right, we are expecting that. Our community of professionals is interested in that, and many of them are involved in our activities. Yes, I think all will observe some good results.” 

Barbara Nesbitt: “Now as I said, we have a lot of involvement with Egypt and I do read about it because I’m interested in it. Am I correct that Egypt is becoming one of the more progressive countries in that part of the world to be involved in women’s health?”

Dr. Abdel-Megeid: “Yes, that’s right. Lots of the issues that you can see in global balance is also addressing in Egypt. Good steps have been carried out."

Barbara Nesbitt: “Let me say also Israel is very progressive.”

Dr. Abdel-Megeid: “Yes, of course, that’s true.”

Barbara Nesbitt: “We’ve talked over the last couple of days here at FIGO and we’re going to work this coming year in the next few months on building a stronger presence between and Egypt. It’s physicians like yourself who are going to take that country page that is now an Egypt page, and we’re going to do more with that page, we’re going to add more of your articles and more country based information. Egypt is certainly one of the first countries that we’re going to do that with because of the interest from all of you.”

Dr. Abdel-Megeid: “I’m certain they would like to work with you building a strong presence for Egypt on

Barbara Nesbitt: “You will not escape from us, doctor. I thank you very much.”

Dr. Abdel-Megeid: “You’re very kind.”

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