The public prosecution released Doctors Syndicate Secretary General Mona Mina on LE1,000 bail on Saturday following a four-hour long investigation into accusations that she spread false news concerning the availability of medical supplies in hospitals.
Mina was summoned before the prosecution due to comments made during a TV interview earlier this month, when she said that she received a complaint from a doctor concerning directives to reuse syringes in public hospitals in order to ration limited medical supplies. She claimed that doctors were told to “to use one solution instead of two. Do not use two syringes. Cover the syringe, then use it for a second time.”
According to rights lawyer Khaled Ali, who attended the interrogation with Mina, the session examined three separate complaints filed by Cairo University President Gaber Gad Nassar, Health Minister Ahmed Rady and one filed by a lawyer in Alexandria.
Mina is facing accusations of spreading false news that threatens public peace and security. In an attempt to explain her remarks, Mina said: “My words were clear, I cannot generalize. I spoke about one single complaint, and I did not say that this is a applied applied across all hospitals in the Health Ministry, or a general message.”
Her remarks still drew criticism however, particularly from the Health Ministry which issued a strongly-worded statement following her remarks. According to the ministry, “these irresponsible comments may cause a state of panic among citizens. They are untrue and unrelated to reality. Legal measures will be taken against the secretary general of the Doctors Syndicate for the remarks she made.”
The statement emphasized that Mina’s comments came at the same time as a project aiming to build a factory to manufacture safe “self-destructing” syringes at a cost of $US17 million, a cooperative effort between the Health Ministry and the Military Production Ministry. It is expected to produce 50 million syringes annually which, the ministry affirms, “will have a major effect on ending infectious diseases like Hepatitis C.”
The statement also asserted that the Health Ministry has “a strategic stock of medical supplies sufficient to cover the needs of hospitals for two years, purchased under the supervision of the Armed Forces, with the aim of achieving ‘medical safety’ in Egypt.”