During her visit to Cairo, World Health Organisation (WHO) director general Margret Chan recognised Egypt’s efforts in the treatment of Hepatitis C.
Chan arrived in Cairo on Monday to attend the 63rd session of the WHO Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean Region, which took place over the past week. She said: “Egypt has set a new example in the treatment of Hepatitis C and combating the epidemic, by working together to increase awareness against it, and showing commitment to the continuous monitoring of the virus.”
The session brought the health ministers of 22 countries from across the Eastern Mediterranean to Cairo. The group discussed global health security, blood transfer services, and mothers’ and children’s health, among other things. The session also addressed the progress on UN sustainable development goals and National Liver Day on Tuesday.
More than 850,000 Hepatitis C patients have been treated since September 2014. This was triggered by the Health Ministry’s decision to depend on an Egyptian version of Sovaldi (sofobuvir) medication and to increase the number of treatment centres from 27 to 51.
Liver professor at the National Liver Centre and medical consultant for the independent centre Right to Medicine, Mohamed Ezz El-Arab, told Daily News Egypt that this number is considered a milestone in combating Hepatitis C.
However, in order to confirm that Hepatitis C is completely eliminated, the infection rate should not be more than 1%. Ezz El-Arab said: “At present, the infection rate is estimated to be 12% even though there is no official documentation on the number of patients.”
Ezz El-Arab said that increased preventative measures must be implemented in order to reach the national goal of eliminating Hepatitis C in Egypt by 2018.
Moreover, the infection prevention infrastructure inside hospitals should be enhanced. Over the past three years, at least six doctors have died and dozens others left with long-lasting issues after contracting infections during their line of work, according to the Doctors Syndicate.