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The Kuwait Ministry of Health launches health awareness campaign about Hepatitis C Virus

The Kuwait Ministry of Health launches health awareness campaign about Hepatitis C Virus

‘Ready to be Hepatitis C Cured’

 

The Ministry of Health of the State of Kuwait, supported by Gilead Sciences, has launched a hepatitis C awareness campaign under the slogan ‘Ready To Be Hepatitis C Cured’. The campaign was announced during the HCV Diwaniya held on May 10th, 2018, under the Patronage of Dr. Majida Al Qattan, MOH’s Assistant Undersecretary for General Health Affairs, and supported by Gilead Sciences.

The educational campaign aims to raise awareness among the public about hepatitis C (HCV) risks and prevention as well as to support patients and their families through the treatment journey. ‘Ready To Be Hepatitis C Cured’ 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.

On this 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 achieve that 90% of people living with HCV are diagnosed, out of which 80% are treated, and out of which 90% are cured. This should be possible as HCV is curable if people are screened, diagnosed and treated. Together with Gilead, we are working towards the eradication of HCV in Kuwait.”

An estimated 170 million people are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) worldwide. The MENA region has the highest prevalence of HCV infection in the world, affecting more than 20 million people in Arab countries. However, less than 30% of people living with viral hepatitis are aware of their condition, greatly increasing the chance of infecting others and missing the opportunity to access life-saving treatment. Because viral hepatitis has few noticeable symptoms, many people are either misdiagnosed or do not come forward for testing.

Fuad Hasan AL Ali Professor at the Department of Medicine, Kuwait University, 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 take 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”.

Elias Mhanna, General Manager, Gilead Sciences – Middle East region stated: “Gilead works with governments, community, academia and healthcare providers and advocates to enhance our ability to address the world’s biggest health challenges on all fronts. The scientific advances that Gilead has made over the past few years have enabled us to support the Ministry of Health in developing this important educational campaign about hepatitis C that aims to improve public health in Kuwait and work towards the WHO goal of elimination by 2030.”

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