UAE to offer 50,000 free Hepatitis C Tests
Dubai, May 10, 2010
The Emirates Medical Association said its Gastroenterology Division (GI division) is offering 50,000 free Hepatitis C Tests to the residents of the UAE under a nationwide C-Watcher campaign.
The C-Watcher 2010 campaign, which has been launched in collaboration with Hoffmann-La Roche, aims to raise awareness and provide testing to mark World Hepatitis Day.
The Hoffmann-La Roche-backed program will be launched in the run up to World Hepatitis Day on May 19, will continue for the period of one month ending in June.
The IMA urged the residents to take advantage of 50,000 free Hepatitis C tests being offered under the novel campaign.
“There are approximately 180 million people around the world who are infected with Hepatitis C2, with the World Health Organisation estimating in 2000 that 3 to 4 million people become newly infected every year. These are big numbers that none of us should ignore.'
'In fact, 92 per cent of Eastern Mediterranean region governments report that hepatitis C is considered and urgent public health issue,” said Dr Adnan Abu Hammour, president of the EMA, GI Division.
International figures suggest that 30 per cent of people with hepatitis C are unaware they are inflected with this silent killer, making awareness and testing all the more important.
Despite the seriousness of the condition, there remains a high lack of awareness for this disease which infected four times more people than HIV and can lead to death over the course of 20 years. Hepatitis C virus is transmitted through infected blood and affects the liver, causing fibrosis, cirrhosis and possibly even liver cancer.
“In many cases, hepatitis C infection can be successfully treated which is why this campaign is so important,” Dr Hammour stated.
'We encourage people who are at risk of the disease to visit one of our partner labs to see if they carry the virus. The earlier they find out, the better chance they have of reversing or stopping the damage and infection.'
'Treatment is available and a program like C-Watcher which aims to support health care professional in following up with patients is essential in helping HCV patient comply and complete treatment in order to get best results.” said Sherief Rizk, business unit director at Hoffmann-La Roche (Dubai branch).
The C-Watcher program was first launched in 2009 and saw great success with 3516 people being screened at labs across the UAE. Of those screen 80 tested positive for the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), indicating 2.3 per cent infection rate, he added.-TradeArabia News Service