More than 800,000 Egyptians have been treated for hepatitis C since January 2016
The country’s health minister says it is proof that the country’s campaign aimed at preventing a spread of the disease is working well, telling journalists he expected the country to be free from the virus by 2020.
“Before the end of the year, God willing, we promise the Egyptian president and all of Egypt, that a million patients will have been treated. And we promise Egypt that 2020 will not see this country with one single Virus C patient. This is an Egyptian celebration, and not a Health Ministry celebration, it’s an Egyptian celebration, to end the waiting list for that disease and the treatment of 835,000 hepatitis C patients, Ahmed Rady said.
The World Health Organization estimates that more than 150 million people world-wide are chronically infected with Hepatitis C. Most of them are in developing countries, putting them at risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer.
The problem is acute in Egypt, which has the world’s highest prevalence of the virus, following the use of poorly sterilized needles in campaigns dating back to the 1970s to stamp out the parasitic disease schistosomiasis.
In 2014 Egypt stepped up its efforts to treat the virus,the aim was to treat 300,000 people a year.
The programme is being supported by the World Health Organisation, and WHO Director General, Margaret Chan, praised the country’s work on combating the widespread disease.