National Committee leads World Hepatitis Day campaign in Egypt
- Egypt: Tuesday, May 13 - 2008 at 14:06
- PRESS RELEASE
The National Committee for the control of viral hepatitis announced that a number of vital liver healthcare activities will take place at Al Azhar Park on May 19th, marking the World Hepatitis Day.
National celebrities including acclaimed actress Yosra and the young star Amr Waked as well as popular members of the Egyptian national football team will participate at the event demonstrating their support for preventing and raising awareness of viral hepatitis. In addition, children's activities are planned to take featuring healthcare education by the popular Alam Semsem characters in a fun environment.
World Hepatitis Day, observed on May 19th, is coordinated by the World Hepatitis Alliance, an NGO representing more than 200 hepatitis B and C patient groups from around the world. Under the slogan, "Am I number 12?" the World Hepatitis Alliance aims to increase awareness of the shocking statistic that one in 12 people on the planet are living with hepatitis B or C and yet the majority of the 500 million infected are unaware. This is over 10 times the number infected with HIV/AIDS.
In Egypt around 12 and 4.5% of the population have been infected with HCV and HBV respectively. Dr Gamal Esmat, member of the National Committee, emphasized the government's substantial efforts in addressing viral hepatitis.
"The Ministry of Health has achieved crucial accomplishments in HCV treatment. In 2007, over 45,000 patients have visited treatment centers and received consultations. The government has allocated EGP240m towards HCV treatment and 90% of the 14,000 patients in need of treatment are supported by the government and national health insurance. This highlights Egypt's success on a worldwide level in developing and implementing a nation-wide treatment plan for viral hepatitis," he said. "We also look forward to implementing treatment guidelines for HBV patients."
The National Committee has successfully been able to draw attention to the issue of viral hepatitis in Egypt via continuous awareness campaigns and media support. Through a comprehensive five-year plan, the National Committee aims to achieve a number of crucial objectives including: Determining disease prevalence in Egypt and economic implications; providing HBV and HCV treatment in line with international guidelines; raising public awareness to limit the spread of infection; implementing preventive measures in all healthcare centers and hospitals and creating a database containing all Egyptian research carried out on viral hepatitis along with completing required and complementary studies.
To support prevention, treatment and liver transplant efforts, a fund is currently being established by the Egyptian Liver Care Association. Dr Manal El Sayed highlighted the importance of public contribution. "Viral hepatitis is not only a healthcare issue, but one that has a profound social impact. We'd like to thank everyone who has helped us come this far including Orascom Group, the Sawiris Foundation, the EFG-Hermes Foundation, the USAID, Johns Hopkins Communication for Healthy Living, Roche, Schering, GSK, as well as the health forum volunteers. It is imperative that all able parties contribute to this national cause to help save millions of lives," said El Sayed.
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