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Elham AbolFateh

Health

Egypt to be hepatitis C free by 2020: ministry

Tuesday 13/February/2018 - 03:32 PM
Sada El Balad
Ahmed Mohsin
Around a million and half Egyptians have been treated for hepatitis C since January 2016، which came as a part of the state's campaign to prevent the spread of the disease، Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Mogahed said..

In remarks، Mogahed said that there are no queues for patients to receive treatment، pointing out that a nationwide medical survey of is set to be carried out soon.

He added that the campaign targets to treat 15 million patients and to announce Egypt free of hepatitis C by 2020، pointing out that the campaign was launched in 17 governorates at the same time.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 150 million people world-wide are chronically infected، most of them in developing countries، putting them at risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Nowhere is the problem more acute than in Egypt، which has the world's highest prevalence of the virus، following the use of poorly sterilized needles in campaigns dating back to the 1970s to stamp out the parasitic disease schistosomiasis.

In 2014 Egypt stepped up its efforts to treat the virus، which can take a long time to show due to the nature of the symptoms which include fatigue and sickness.

The aim was to treat 300،000 people a year.

The programme is being supported by the World Health Organisation، and WHO Director General، Margaret Chan، praised the country's work on combating the widespread disease.

"I want to commend the government for their strong commitment to provide affordable medicines for Egyptians، so the government has worked very hard، and with technical support from the World Health Organization to work with the originator company to negotiate the price down and now working with generic company، trying to make a medicine of equal safety، quality and efficacy،'' she said.

Like HIV، hepatitis C (HCV) can be spread through blood، often via contaminated needles or from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby.

Egypt has also invested in televised campaigns to raise awareness about the disease and ways to treat it.

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