Egypt Independent

10 million Egyptians screened for Hepatitis C in 10 weeks: minister



 

Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed said on Tuesday that 10 million Egyptians had been screened throughout  50 working days, as part of the “100 million health” presidential initiative against the Hepatitis C virus, and noncommunicable diseases.

She added that the infection rate of Hepatitis C does not exceed 5% of people examined, and that those with diabetes ranged from 5 to 6%.

Zayed visited some screening points in al-Fayoum governorate on Tuesday.

She announced that one million citizens had been screened in the governorate so far, out of which a stunning 60% suffered from overweightness.

Examinations revealed an increase in the percentage of overweight people, which across the 10 million Egyptians surveyed, reached 75% in the first phase of the campaign, according to Zayed.

She added that governorates with the highest rates of obesity were the urban governorates, including Alexandria, Port Said and Damietta.

The minister warned against the dangers of the Hepatitis C virus and noncommunicable diseases of “blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and the heart,” and estimated total deaths due to these diseases to equate to 70% of deaths.

The campaign’s second phase will commence in January 2019 across 11 governorates, according to Islam Ammar, Assistant Executive Director of the National Committee for the Prevention of Hepatitis Viruses.

The screening campaign for Hepatitis C began earlier this year, targeting people aged 19 to 59 for scanning through PCR tests.

Those testing positive for the disease are expected to undergo further check-ups, and will be provided free medication.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) warned citizens against refusing to be scanned.

The “Tahya Masr” (Long Live Egypt) Fund announced in an August statement that the Hepatitis C virus in Egypt will be completely eradicated by 2020, through one of the largest medical examinations in human history.

It added that 45 million people will be screened in collaboration with the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) to prevent the disease, and tackle the country’s list of endemic diseases.

Egypt has the highest rate of Hepatitis C in the world, first surfacing in the 1950s due to unsterilized injections. The highly-infectious blood borne virus kills an estimated 40,000 Egyptians a year, and at least 1 in 10 of the population aged 15-59 are infected, according to the WHO.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm.