Egypt’s Remarkable Triumph: WHO Declares Hepatitis C Eradication

Egypt is on the verge of becoming one of the first countries in the world to eradicate hepatitis C, according to an official from the World Health Organization.

Naima al-Qaseer, the WHO representative for Egypt, says the North African nation has submitted documents showing that it has managed to completely get rid of the disease. An announcement would also be made by the Geneva-based health organization in the coming weeks, reports the official Egyptian news agency.

“We are also working with the Egyptian Ministry of Health to meet the requirements and fill in any gaps as soon as possible so that we can make the announcement,” she says.

Egypt has worked “intensively” to get rid of hepatitis C through a presidential initiative known as “100 million healthy lives”, hailed around the world, she adds.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi said this week at the opening of the “Second African Medical Conference and Exhibition” that the announcement would be made in the coming weeks.

According to data from the Ministry of Health, Egypt has achieved almost 99% cure rate for Hepatitis C in recent years.

Its success in developing effective drugs has brought the cost of treatment down to $100 per patient from $64,000 in 2013, saving the state more than $2.5 billion, Ahmed el-Sayed, who works for the Egyptian Medicines Authority, told Arab News.

He says a campaign launched in 2014 by the Egyptian government to detect and treat hepatitis C – which has resulted in more than 60 million people being tested and 4 million receiving treatment – had been essential for the country to succeed in defeating the disease.

The government has invested $442.5 million in the campaign, plus $530 million from the World Bank, he concludes.

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Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.