Health Ministry Spokesperson Khaled Megahed has said that women must undergo a breast examination to determine who is entitled to receive subsidized infant milk.
In remarks to Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai, Megahed indicated that this was one of several conditions set by the Egyptian Health Ministry in order to obtain the widely sought-after baby formula. In addition to the examinations, parents will now be required to carry a smart card issued by the ministry after a child’s birth certificate is submitted.
The ministry's remarks come in the wake of protests against a shortage of the subsidized infant formula, with some fearing the milk distribution process has been monopolized and others voicing concerns that the milk has been getting into the hands of food production lines to enhance the quality of sweet products.
Megahed denied rumors circulated on social media that women will be checked on the streets in front of passers-by, deeming the notion "disrespectful and indecent".
He strongly condemned the rumors, saying they were published on "disrespectful websites”. The process will be carried out inside mobile clinics with closed-off rooms for medical examination, he underlined.
The Pharmacists Syndicate board, however, has resisted the ministry's conditions and called instead for mothers to be provided with a certificate indicating whether they are entitled to the milk formula after each child is born.
Syndicate Chief Mohey Ebeid described the ministry’s modification of the conditions as "insurmountable" as they do not take into account mothers who have twins. He also raised objections to the ministry's decision to cancel the subsidy of milk sold at LE26, suggesting this too is unfair.
“The minister’s decision came out of the blue. It was made hastily, without being studied,” he added.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm