Egypt, the first country to achieve WHO validation on the path to eliminating hepatitis C
Cairo, Oct 9 (EFE).- Egypt today became the first country to reach the "gold level" category of the World Health Organization (WHO) for its "unprecedented progress" towards the elimination of hepatitis C , as it has gone from having one of the highest rates in the world to one of the lowest, reducing prevalence from 10% to 0.38% in just over a decade.
In a statement, the WHO said that the "gold level" means that Egypt has met "the programmatic requirements that facilitate the reduction of new infections and deaths from hepatitis C to levels that place the country in a position to end the epidemic." .
According to the WHO, the Arab country has diagnosed 87% of people living with hepatitis C and provided curative treatment to 93% of those diagnosed.
"Egypt's trajectory from having one of the highest hepatitis C infection rates in the world to being on the path to elimination in less than 10 years is simply astonishing," the director general of the WHO said in the statement. WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who stated that Egypt is "an example for the world."
From 2014 to 2018, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi launched a national campaign to eliminate hepatitis C that offered free testing and treatment.
"The 100 Million Healthy Lives campaign tested more than 60 million people and treated more than 4.1 million. Locally manufactured direct-acting antiviral treatments were a key factor in the campaign's remarkable success: a rate cure rate for hepatitis C of 99% among people who received treatment," says the WHO.
Worldwide, 58 million people live with chronic infection and although there is no vaccine, the disease can be cured with very effective and curative short-term treatments that last between 8 and 12 weeks.
However, around the world, 4 in 5 people living with hepatitis C do not know they are infected, and unless treated or cured, the infection can cause liver disease and cancer, recalls the WHO.
Hepatitis C spread significantly in Egypt during anti-parasitic vaccination campaigns between the 1950s and 1980s, when glass syringes were still used, and not the current disposable ones. EFE
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