Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed will head to Ismailia on Saturday to launch the second phase of the President’s initiative to eradicate the Hepatitis C virus, in the presence of the head of the Suez Canal Authority Mohab Mamesh and governor of Ismailia Hama Othman.
Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said that the second phase covers 11 governorates: Cairo, Suez, Kafr al-Sheikh, Menoufia, Ismailia, Beni Suef, Sohag, Aswan, Red Sea, North Sinai and Luxor.
He added that the total number of citizens targeted by the screening at this stage are more than 20 million, and that the second phase will continue until the end of next February.
The screening campaign for Hepatitis C started earlier this year, targeting people aged 19 to 59 who will be scanned through PCR tests. Those testing positive for the disease are expected to undergo further check ups and will be provided free medication.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) warned citizens against refusing to be scanned.
The Tahya Masr Fund (Long Live Egypt) announced in an August statement that the Hepatitis C virus in Egypt will be completely eradicated by 2020, through one of the largest medical examinations in human history.
The Fund said that 45 million people will be screened in collaboration with the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) to prevent the disease and make Egypt quit their list of endemic diseases.
Egypt has the highest rate of Hepatitis C in the world, first surfacing in the 1950s due to unsterilized injections. The highly-infectious blood-borne virus kills an estimated 40,000 Egyptians a year, and at least 1 in 10 of the population aged 15-59 are infected, according to the WHO.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm