CAIRO – 5 January 2019: Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed stated that 25 million citizens have undergone medical check-ups under the ‘199 Million Seha’ Campaign between October 2018 and early January.
In an initiative that has been hailed as one of its kind, ground-breaking and innovative, the Ministry of Health and Population’s ‘100 Million Seha’ to end Hepatitis C in Egypt, under the patronage of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, has managed to attract millions of individuals in Egyptian governorates.
In a walk through the governorates, Egypt Today spoke to a number of citizens in key governorates, who all spoke of the positivity of the campaign and its great contribution to human development.
In Ismailia, Hassan Gharib said that the initiative is unique and occurs in the first time in Egypt. Gharib added that over the past years there have been many deaths due to these diseases, but now the detection and treatment to eliminate these diseases free of charge. Unnecessary deaths can now be mitigated.
An elderly women, known as Haga Samiha, went on to say, “Although I am not feeling well and I am ill, I was keen and determined to come to the unit to get a check-up done,” implying how beneficial the campaign really is for the Egyptian everyday people.
Gamal Sadek Mohammed added that he waited for the campaign to come to Ismailia so that he can come as soon as it launches.
In the Red Sea governorate, Laila Osman, a housewife said that she was surprised to learn that the Virus C test is free of charge; she had thought that the process was free but that she would have to pay for the Virus C test.
By doing the tests, Osman found that she has Virus C and she was sent to the appropriate place to take the medication free of charge.
Ahmed Yassin, a manager of one of the touristic hotels, said that the initiative shows that Sisi is making the Egyptian citizen his first priority, stressing that many have done the medical test to meet the president's orders and ensure the country develops.
New record has been achieved in the number of Egyptians who were examined as part of the Ministry of Health initiative ‘100 Million Seha’ to end Hepatitis C in Egypt under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al Sisi; Minister of Health Hala Zayed said.
She added in a statement on December 7, that the total number of examined Egyptians has reached 14.2 Million until now. “About 500, 000 Egyptian are being examined daily since the beginning of phase two of the initiative, which kicked off in December.” Zayed explained.
Photo courtesy of ‘100 Million Seha’ official facebook page
Minster of Health also, has welcomed several international officials and representatives during the past period, whom showed great interest in the governmental campaign. “We are looking for conveying the Egyptian experience to stop Hepatitis C to all other countries around the world, including Africa.” World Bank’s Health and Nutrition Manager in the Middle East North Africa Region, Ernest Massiah, said during his visit to Cairo following up with the governmental Campaign.
He affirmed that the initiative has proven positive effect on Egyptian’s health.
In November, Zayed said that the second phase of the state’s campaign to end Hepatitis C in Egypt by 2020 will be implemented starting December 1.
The second phase was announced to include 11 governorates, including Cairo, North Sinai, Red Sea, Ismailia, Suez, Kafr el-Sheikh, Menoufia, Beni Suef, Sohag, Luxor, and Aswan. The second phase is set to end late in February 2019.
In October, Zayed said that a campaign to test people for Hepatitis C would run from October 1 to the end of April 2019, stressing that patients would receive treatment for one to one and a half year to announce Egypt free from the blood-borne disease by 2020 or 2021.
Concerning the first phase of the campaign, Khaled Megahed, the Health Ministry spokesman said about 10 million citizens were examined for Hepatitis C within 90 days.
Zayed revealed that 422,000 people of the total number of people examined tested positive for Hepatitis C.
She earlier said that the tests revealed that 4.5 percent of the examined citizens as part of the campaign’s first phase tested positive for Hepatitis C.
The first phase of the campaign was carried out in nine governorates including Alexandria, Damietta, Qalyubia, Port Said, Marsa Matrouh, South Sinai, Beheira, Fayoum and Assiut.
In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that at least one in 10 Egyptians aged between 15 and 59 are infected, adding that the virus kills an estimated 40,000 Egyptians a year due to lack of awareness.
Hence, the government has been making strides to combat hepatitis C by launching the national anti-HCV program across Egypt to eliminate the hepatitis C virus (HCV) under the directive of President Sisi. The efforts of the campaign were recognized by the WHO in 2016 during a visit by WHO Director-General Margret Chan.
Since the launch of the program, 1.4 million citizens infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) have been treated, and the government is still looking to fully cure 1.5 million more during 2018.
Additional reporting: Egypt Today Staff