EBRD and donors support women’s clinic in Cairo

By Volker Ahlemeyer

EBRD and donors support women’s clinic in Cairo

Dr Hanan Gewefel with two of her employees.

EBRD’s Women in Business programme supports Wafi

Ahead of the EBRD’s SEMED Business Forum, the Bank’s donors met some Egyptian businesses which have benefited from their support to learn more about the challenges they face and see how they have improved their companies.

Egypt is a good example of how more and more women are taking their country’s economic future into their hand. Their success is not only important for themselves, but it creates new job opportunities for other Egyptians - those they work with directly as well as for their suppliers.

Dr Hanan Gewefel is one such woman. For a long time she used to work for a large radiological centre, until she realised that she wanted to do something else.

“As you get older, you realise that you want to make a difference to society,” she said. “I wanted to create a medical centre that is culturally very sensitive, one where women feel comfortable when they do their medical examinations.”

Her centre is called Wafi - Women and Foetal Imaging - or, in Arabic, “perfect” to show that her clinic follows a new approach based on the patient.

Wafi offers a wide range of services - from cancer screening to diagnostic breast imaging and endocrine problems - but Dr Gewefel realised that there was scope to improve her business services further, which is when she turned to the Bank for help.

The EBRD’s Women in Business programme brought her in contact with an expert consultant to help her meet her ambitions.

The project was supported by the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Multi-Donor Account*and the MENA Transition Fund.

“I needed some advice on strategic planning and related to that some marketing expertise on promoting the centre,” said Dr Gewefel.

Much of her business arrives via word of mouth. However, it was a challenge to combine different treatments for clients in the same practice, such as cancer scans and ultrasound for newborns, she explained.

She adjusted her consultation times, allocating specific days to the different examinations. She also changed her logo, which used to be a stylised pregnant women, to one that focuses on the brand Wafi itself.

This was not only to make her centre better known, but also to make people aware of all her X-ray and diagnostic services, especially mammograms.

“My equipment is of course very expensive, but it’s extremely important to me to serve our community too,” she said. “This way I allocate slots when I offer the X-ray for free to those women who have a family history of breast cancer and can’t afford to pay otherwise.”

Her hard work has paid off well. Wafi has grown and now employs nine people, treating over 3,000 patients each year.

The clinic’s expertise is well known in Cairo. The business has grown over the last years - so much so that Dr Gewefel and the other clinic owners are now considering merging with another medical practice.

*The donors of the SEMED MDA are: Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taipei China and the United Kingdom.