Reports show 30% decline in Egypt's hepatitis C cases

Ahram Online , Tuesday 28 Jul 2015

WHO recognizes Egypt for its efforts in fighting hepatitis C

File Photo: A laboratory assistant examines blood samples inside a laboratory (Photo: Reuters)

The current number of Egyptians between the age of 15 to 59 diagnosed with hepatitis C stands at seven percent, according to the World Health Organization website.

The previous 2008 Demographic Health Survey (DHS) reported a ten percent rate of infection, which points to a 30 percent decrease of infections in Egypt over the last six years.

The announcement of the findings came on Tuesday, which marks World Hepatitis Day, at the World Health Organization's (WHO) regional office in Cairo.

ِAdel El-Adawi, the Egypt's Minister of Health, stated that Egypt's success in reducing the spread of hepatitis C is due to its ongoing treatment of the disease and prevention policies. 

The American company Gilead Sciences was once the only source for an antiviral medication called Sovaldi, the main form of treatment for hepatitis C that was purchased last year by Egypt at a reduced cost.

At the beginning of this year, however, a number of Egyptian companies started manufacturing medications similar to Sovaldi, a treatment that is reported to increase chances of survival by 90%.

It is expected that these Egyptian versions of the medication will be distributed before the end of the year, and at a much lower price than their American equivalent.

Last week, the WHO chose Egypt to celebrate 'World Hepatitis Day.' The celebration will be held Tuesday evening at 7:00 pm in the Citadel's cultural centre.

"Egypt was chosen to host the 2015 World Hepatitis Day as the country has demonstrated a high level of commitment to tackling hepatitis comprehensively in their plan of action for prevention, care and treatment 2014–2018," the WHO stated on their website.

The WHO defines hepatitis C as "a blood borne virus and the most common modes of infection are through unsafe injection practices, inadequate sterilization of medical equipment, and the transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products."

During the celebration, WHO will announce an initiative under the name 'Global ‎Injection Safety' that aims to 'reduce unnecessary ‎injections and facilitate transition to ‎the exclusive use of disposable syringes,' according to WHO. Egypt is selected among two other pilot countries for the initiative. 

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