Egypt’s Health Ministry said Friday that it has approved the construction of a $3.5 billion facility in the Nile Delta to be used to produce medicines and diagnostics, as part of a broader plan to boost the country’s health sector.

In addition to the new medical research center, the ministry said it will build an additional 1.7 million square meters of buildings to produce medical supplies.

The Ministry of Health also announced it would spend $4.3 billion on infrastructure projects, including a new canal that will help the country to connect the Nile to the Red Sea.

Egypt is one of the poorest countries in the Arab world and is in dire need of investment in health services, with a shortage of doctors and hospitals.

Earlier this month, the government pledged to spend an additional $2 billion on health services over the next five years to make up for the shortfall.