Dubai Health Authority (DHA) recently announced the launch of the Dubai without C campaign to
raise awareness about the importance of early detection and prevention of hepatitis C, ultimately eliminating the disease in the emirate.
The campaign aims to encourage the public to get tested after the authority announced last October the inclusion of free screening and treatment for hepatitis C under the basic benefit plan of the Dubai Mandatory Health Insurance Scheme.
“Last October, DHA announced the inclusion of free screening and treatment for hepatitis C under the basic benefit plan of the Dubai Mandatory Health Insurance Scheme,” said Dr Younes Kazim, CEO of the Dubai Healthcare Cooperation, DHA. “This means that the hepatitis C treatment is now available for free to all UAE residents.”
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). According to the World Health Organisation, about 399,000 people die each year from HCV, mostly from cirrhosis and liver cancer, often due to late diagnosis of the disease. Presently, the prevalence of the disease ranges from 0.24 per cent to 1.64 per cent in the UAE.
Hepatitis C treatment is now available for free to all UAE residents.
Dr Kazim said that hepatitis C can be dangerous as patients are often unaware that they have the disease as 80 per cent of people affected will have no symptoms. Yet, advancements in medicine and pharmaceuticals mean that more than 95 per cent of cases can now be treated successfully.
Previously, treatment for hepatitis C involved injections and extended for two to three years. Now the disease can be treated in two to three months using tablets.
Dr Badreyya AlHarmi, Director of the Public Health Protection Department, said that the launch of the campaign is in line with the National Agenda for Vision 2021, which aims to achieve a world-class healthcare system and the World Health Organisation’s goal of eliminating hepatitis C by 2030.
“We wanted the UAE to be at the forefront of achieving this national and international goal, which is why the Public Health Protection Department has put a plan in place to raise awareness about the disease, the importance of early diagnosis and treatment and learn about the dangers of not getting treated.
“Our main focus is to increase awareness of the disease all over Dubai, including government authorities, labour camps and DHA facilities.”
Mohammad Aboubakr, General Manager at Abbvie Gulf, said the company is committed to supporting DHA in its plan to eliminate hepatitis C.
“We take pride in being the main partner for this campaign by collaborating with the Public Health Protection Department to provide technical support during the awareness and diagnosis activities of the campaign.”