Giza, Egypt, 9 October 2023…… The Arab Republic of Egypt has achieved a historic milestone, becoming the first country worldwide to attain Gold tier certification on the path to eliminating Hepatitis C. This remarkable accomplishment is attributed to the immense effort, dedication, and commitment demonstrated at all levels, from the highest leadership of the presidency to the community, all working collaboratively to eliminate this disease as a public health threat.
Under the visionary leadership of H.E President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Egypt established the Presidential Initiative of “100 Million Seha” or “100 Million Healthy Lives”. Through this unparalleled campaign, Egypt significantly reduced the prevalence of Hepatitis C from 10% in 2016 to 5% in 2018 and an estimated less than 1% in 2019. The Gold tier certification is the culmination of Egypt’s comprehensive approach to Hepatitis C elimination, which includes meeting specific criteria such as ensuring 100% blood and injection safety, maintaining a minimum of 150 needles/syringes per year for People Who Inject Drugs (PWID), diagnosis of ≥80% of people living with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV), treating of ≥70% of individuals diagnosed with HCV, and the establishing of a sentinel surveillance program for hepatitis sequelae, including liver cancer.
Egypt’s accomplishment in meeting these criteria underscores the effectiveness of its strategies. Key interventions include conducting population-based surveys to understand the hepatitis C epidemic (who is affected and where) and to develop an investment case to highlight the economic burden of HCV. Using domestic financial resources, Egypt further customized this elimination programme for workforce development at all levels, from generalist doctors to community healthcare workers, and in some cases, by using telemedicine for hard-to-reach areas, and by promoting local manufacturing to drive down the costs to less than $50 per treatment course per patient. Collaborative efforts from governmental agencies, civil society organizations, international partners, and pharmaceutical companies, have been instrumental in this achievement.
Egypt’s success extends beyond its borders as the country is committed to supporting other African Union Member States in replicating its success. The Presidential Initiative to Treat 1 million Africans reflects Egypt’s dedication to sharing its knowledge, resources, and local manufacturing of medicines and medical products to enhance treatment accessibility.
“Success for one is success for all. May this remarkable milestone inspire African Union Member States and countries worldwide to unite in the fight against this disease. Together, we can create a future where Hepatitis C is a disease of the past, and the health and well-being of all individuals is safeguarded,” said H.E Dr Jean Kaseya.
Similarly, one of the key flagship programmes of Africa CDC Partnership for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM) focuses on local manufacturing of vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments, with efforts to establish regulatory frameworks provide financial support to manufacturers and create a conducive market environment to expand regional manufacturing capabilities. This initiative combined with Egypt’s support, will improve access to quality affordable medication and consumables across the African continent.
Furthermore, Africa CDC through its Continental Viral Hepatitis Prevention and Control Programme is working closely with the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population. The aim is to replicate Egypt’s success in other Member States. Initiatives like the cohort-based approach, launched in August 2023, aim to strengthen their viral hepatitis prevention and control programmes. Their goal is to eliminate of hepatitis B and C as public health problems, focusing on key interventions such as conducting population-based surveys and setting up sentinel surveillance systems, harm reduction, blood safety, etc.
This collaboration serves as a valuable model shaping the continental strategies and interventions for viral hepatitis elimination. As the Member State strives towards the goal of hepatitis elimination, Africa CDC reaffirms its commitment to providing continued support.
For more information contact:
Dr Nafiisah Chotun | Programme Lead, Endemic and NTDs & Africa CDC focal point for viral hepatitis | Division of Disease Control and Prevention | Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention| African Union | Email: ChotunB@africa-union.org|Website: www.africacdc.org
Dr. Wessam MANKOULA |Ag. Regional Director, North Africa Regional Coordinating Centre (RCC) and Lead of Emergency Operations Centre | Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention| African Union| email:WessamM@africaunion.org| Website: www.africacdc.org
For media inquiry:
Dorothy Wambeti Njagi | Senior Communication Officer- Policy, Health Diplomacy &Communication | Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention| African Union |email: firstname.lastname@example.org |Website: www.africacdc.org|Addis Ababa|Ethiopia| Facebook | Twitter