Egypt launches new program to test and treat Hepatitis C in recovered drug addicts

Ahram Online , Sunday 19 Feb 2017

File Photo: Hepatitis C treatment queue treatment in a health insurance hospital in Egypt (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egyptian Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali announced on Sunday the launch of a medical examination program to test and treat Hepatitis C virus among recovered drug addicts.

The programme is part of a cooperative effort between the state's Addiction Treatment and Abuse Fund (ATAF) and the Long Live Egypt fund to upgrade Hepatitis C treatment in Egypt, in the frame of the country's national plan to eliminate the disease.
Wali said the new programme will begin by testing 400 recovered addicts and treating those who test positive for the disease.
According to ATAF, Egypt registered a 2.4 percent drug addiction rate, and 10 percent abuse rate in the general population for 2016. 
The fund said it treated 75,000 drug addicts in 2015.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 150 million people suffer from Hepatitis C worldwide.
Egypt has one of the highest prevalence rates of the virus in the world, according to WHO.
According to 2015 statistics, some 15 million Egyptians -- out of a population of 91 million -- carried the disease, or around 22 percent of the population.
In 2016, The Health Ministry achieved a 96 percent cure rate of the disease nationwide, through intensive efforts over the past two years using a variety of treatments.
The ministry has vowed to completely eliminate the disease in Egypt by 2021.
The WHO has praised Egypt's efforts to combat the virus, including government subsidies for new treatments.
"Egypt has a become an example to follow all over the world, not only for giving hope [that we can combat] the disease, but also for its concerted efforts in a national action plan that includes protection through raising the societal awareness of the paths of infection and means of treatment, providing medicine for patients, follow-up and continued evaluation of the action plan," the organisation's Director-General Margaret Chan said in a statement last year. 
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