Egypt becomes first country in the world to completely eradicate Hepatitis C
London, July 30, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Egypt has become the first country in the world that succeeds in becoming free of Hepatitis C
In 2017, Egypt alongside eight other countries-Australia, Brazil, Georgia, Germany, Iceland, Japan, the Netherlands and Qatar were listed by the Polaris Observatory to be on course to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030, but the North African country has beaten them all, ten years ahead of projection
Worldwide, viral hepatitis kills more than one million people each year, and more than 300 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B or C.
To celebrate the milestone, Egyptian health ministry published a video on Facebook to celebrate World Hepatitis Day. In the video, several Egyptian landmarks are lit in green to celebrate becoming Hepatitis-free, among which are the New Administrative Capital, Cairo Tower, Liberation complex, Deir El-Bahari in Luxor and Raud El-Farag Axis.
“We proved that community-based screening of Hepatitis viruses is not impossible, “said Minister of Health Hala Zayed in the video.
The ministry added that 60 million Egyptians were scanned for Hepatitis in seven months only, as a part of the 100 Million Health initiative.
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s initiative 100 Million Health was launched from October 2018 until April 2019, to screen and overcome hepatitis and non-communicable diseases.
The initiative included mass screenings for all citizens over the age of 18 for the early detection of Hepatitis C infection alongside evaluation and treatment in Hepatitis treatment units deployed nationwide.
Early detection was not only restricted to Hepatitis C, but included diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, directing those who need to receive treatment to various units and hospitals in the republic to reduce deaths caused by non-communicable diseases which represent about 70 percent of deaths in Egypt.
“Egypt is the first country to fight Hepatitis C and overcome it and is now Hepatitis-free,” said the Ministry of Health.
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV): the virus can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness.
Hepatitis C is a major cause of liver cancer.
The hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus: the most common modes of infection are through exposure to small quantities of blood. This may happen through injection drug use, unsafe injection practices, unsafe health care, transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products, and sexual practices that lead to exposure to blood.
Globally, an estimated 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C virus infection.
A significant number of those who are chronically infected will develop cirrhosis or liver cancer.
WHO estimated that in 2016, approximately 399 000 people died from hepatitis C, mostly from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (primary liver cancer).
Antiviral medicines can cure more than 95% of persons with hepatitis C infection, thereby reducing the risk of death from cirrhosis and liver cancer, but access to diagnosis and treatment is low.
There is currently no effective vaccine against hepatitis C; however, research in this area is ongoing.