Cairo, Feb 20.- Egyptian authorities have started a national program to fight Hepatitis C mainly focused on the detection and treatment of drug addicts rehabilitated with this affliction.
Egyptian Social Solidarity Minister, Ghada Wali, said the new health program is part of an integrated effort between the state's Addiction Treatment and Abuse Fund (ATAF) and the Egypt Long-Life Fund to improve the treatment of Hepatitis C in the country.
The program will initially begin by treating 400 recovered addicts, who will be periodically assessed, the official said.
According to ATAF, in 2016 (most recent data available), Egypt recorded a rate of 2.4 percent of the population suffering from drug addiction as well as a 10 percent rate of frequent use.
In 2015, that Fund treated 75,000 drug addicts throughout the country.
According to figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), about 15 million Egyptians -whose population reached 91 million at that time- were carriers of the disease in 2015, representing about 22 percent of the population, one of the largest figures in the world.
The Egyptian Ministry of Health has set out to completely eliminate the disease in the country by 2021.
WHO Director-General, Margaret Chan, said in 2016 that Egypt has become an example to follow worldwide, not only for the hope it offers to fight the disease, but also for its efforts focused on an action plan that includes raising social awareness about Hepatitis C.
WHO estimates that there are more than 150 million people living with Hepatitis C in the world. (PL)