Egypt to begin first phase of '100 million healthy lives' campaign to eradicate hepatitis C

Ahram Online , Sunday 30 Sep 2018

Hala zayed
Egypt's Minister of Health Hala Zayed during the launching of the largest health campaign to eradicate hepatitis C across the nation as part of the strategic 2020 plan (Photo: Egypt's Ministry of Health Facebook page)

Egypt is set to start on Monday the largest health campaign under the directive of the Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, which aims to eradicate hepatitis C across the nation as part of the administration’s strategic 2020 plan.

In a press conference held on Sunday by Minister of Health Hala Zayed, the first phase of the "100 million healthy lives" campaign is expected to be launched on Monday in nine Egyptian governorates.

The campaign also aims to stymie the growth of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, which are responsible for 70 percent of all deaths in Egypt, according to Zayed.

The first of the campaign’s three phases will last for two months, from 1 October until 30 November 30.

According to 2015 statistics, some 15 million Egyptians out of then population of 91 million carry hepatitis C, or around 22 percent of the population.

Over the past three years, Egypt has been successful in the intensive use of a variety of new medications to combat hepatitis C.

In 2016, The health ministry achieved a 96 percent cure rate of the disease nationwide.

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.

The cost

Amr Al-Shalaqani, a World Bank representative, said on Sunday that the bank supports El-Sisi’s initiative and has invested a total of $133 million for general screenings as well as $129 million for treatment of the hepatitis virus in the first phase.

Al-Shalaqani said in a press conference on Sunday that the initiative is being monitored by many countries and the results and lessons from the experiment will be transferred to other countries.

Free treatment

The health minister explained that the initiative aims to examine between 45 and 52 million citizens.

The medical examination will be conducted on 17 million citizens who are 18 and older in the first stage.

She then added that infected patients will be treated for free until they are completely recovered.

The second phase will start in December 2018 and continue until February 2019 in 11 governorates, while the third will include seven provinces and take place between March and April 2019.

"There is a rapid detection company that provided us with trainees from South Africa and awareness campaigns that we’ve implemented, including public radio. There will also be a call centre number where people can dial 15335 to talk about the initiative," said Zayed.

More on the campaign

The minister added that the first phase will begin in nine governorates, including South Sinai, Marsa Matrouh, Beheira, Alexandria, and other governorates.  

The second phase will examine 11 governorates including Cairo, North Sinai, Ismailia, Red Sea, Kafr El-Sheikh, Menoufiya, Beni Suef, Sohag and Aswan.

The third phase will include Giza, New Valley, Sharqiya, Minya and Qena.

The health minister said that there will be a special uniform issued for doctors and specialists working on this initiative, and that every citizen will be issued a card with his/her data, weight, and height.

The information and data on patients are all from the information of the National Elections Commission and the Ministry of Planning and are fully secured.

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