Under the auspices of Minister of Health Dr Jamal Al-Harbi, sponsorship of AbbVie Pharmaceuticals and in collaboration with the National Committee for fighting communicable Hepatitis C, the Ministry of Health of Kuwait held the 2nd educational campaign on communicable Hepatitis C which was attended by many sponsoring patrons, organizers and a large number of media personnel representing various media sectors in Kuwait.
During her speech, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Dr Majda Al-Qattan said that the ministry made progress at rectifying public misconceptions about the disease and to confirm that the medication to fight the disease is readily available and that the disease can be treated provided the initiative to start the treatment exists.
She added that the Ministry of Health has taken great strides on several levels in order to eliminate all types of hepatitis, in line with Kuwait’s commitment to eradicate Hepatitis C by 2030 where the Ministry of Health is working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop a national strategy to combat hepatitis viruses through which data is collected from infected cases to assess the situation in Kuwait and to create a system for monitoring and evaluation.
Treatment can cure disease by more than 95%
Qattan noted that the ministry focuses at this stage on viral hepatitis C because of the high proportion of complications in the infection, where the risk of cirrhosis of the liver is 15-30 percent in 20 years and the development of it to liver cancer. There is currently a treatment that can cure the disease by more than 95 percent and has been provided by the Ministry of Health, according to the recommendations of the World Health Organization.
Professor Fouad Al-Ali, gastroenterology and liver consultant, said that in 2014, with the introduction of a new batch of drugs, it became possible to treat with grain instead of needles, with almost no side effects, and the proportion of treatment of the virus exceeded 95 percent. Ali added that the Ministry of Health in Kuwait is one of the few countries in the world that has provided medicine that is considered expensive for all patients, at a time when it decided to provide treatment for advanced cases.
On the other hand, digestive system and liver diseases consultant Dr Ahmed Al-Fadhli said that the first campaign is to explore the cases in the community. “We are trying to detect cases that currently do not show symptoms of the disease. Most of patients in these cases do not even know they are infected, and this makes it more difficult for us. During the next six months, we will try to examine a large number of cases,” he added.
Al-Fadhli stressed that Kuwait’s need for liver transplant facilities is very high, adding that the operations will start soon at Mubarak Hospital. It is expected that these operations will begin within two months especially that the list of patients who need liver transplants is ready.