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MoH launches health awareness campaign on Hepatitis C Virus
May 12, 2018, 2:52 pm
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Ministry of Health (MoH) has launched a hepatitis C awareness campaign under the slogan ‘Ready To Be Hepatitis C Cured’, in association with Gilead Sciences, a leading US-based bio-pharmaceutical company.

The campaign was announced during the HCV Diwaniya held on 10 May, under the patronage and in attendance of the Assistant-Undersecretary for General Health Affairs at MoH, Dr. Majida Al Qattan.

An estimated 170 million people are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) worldwide. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has the highest prevalence of HCV infection in the world, affecting more than 20 million people in Arab countries. Without immediate and effective intervention, this number is expected to increase significantly over the next 20 years. However, HCV is curable if people are screened, diagnosed and treated in proper time.

The educational campaign aims to raise awareness among the public about risks from, and prevention of hepatitis C (HCV), as well as support patients and their families throughout the treatment journey. The campaign will reach out to citizens and residents of Kuwait through social media platforms (Twitter and Facebook), town-halls organized in cooperation with governmental institutions and an educational booklet for HCV-positive patients and their families, guiding them to reach their goals of being cured.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Majida Al Qattan said, “The Ministry of Health is committed to improving public health and reducing the risks of HCV. World Health Organization has set a 90-80-90 goal, meaning that by 2030 healthcare stakeholders should strive to ensure that 90 percent of people living with HCV are diagnosed, out of which 80 percent are treated, and out of which 90 percent are cured. This should be possible as HCV is curable if people are screened, diagnosed and treated in time.”

She added, “This campaign aims to increase awareness about the importance of testing and early detection for the successful treatment of the HCV. In addition, our community outreach through the town-halls will empower and guide the patients to seek the treatment and adhere to it, but also provide education that is often lacking in the process.”

Professor at the Department of Medicine, Kuwait University, Prof. Fuad Hasan Al Ali said, “It is a known fact that prevention reduces the number of new infections, and that targeted screening reduces the number of undiagnosed persons. Therefore, testing and early diagnosis are imperative. However, elimination will not be achieved without involving people who are affected. Therefore, we need to educate and empower the people to proactively discuss their health with their doctors, and if they believe they might have been affected, to seek testing. The consequences of hepatitis C takes time to be felt, but if left untreated, it can lead to severe liver disease, including cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and end-stage liver failure. The management of these complications can put a significant strain on the health system.”

 

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