The Lancet: Egypt's hepatitis success story: Societal knowledge and political will

18 March, 2024

Citation and extracts below.

CITATION: Sophie Cousins. Egypt's hepatitis success story

The Lancet: Wworld report| volume 403, issue 10431, p1011-1012, march 16, 2024


'Globally, about 58 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis C, which is spread through contact with infected blood through sharing needles or syringes, or from unsafe medical procedures such as blood transfusions. Only 21% of these people know they are infected, and every year 300 000 die, largely from liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Although there is no vaccine, the disease can be cured with treatment that lasts 8–12 weeks...

'Imam Wakid [hepatologist and Professor of Medicine at the National Liver Institute in Cairo] attributes societal knowledge of hepatitis C and political will as the major enablers of its success... “Everyone in Egypt has had a family member or friend with hepatitis C or has known someone who has died of it”, he said. “It was a very stigmatising disease, but that's why people came to be screened and treated. Secondly, the government has been very proactive and willing to support efforts to eliminate the disease.”'

'[Egypt] introduced a nationwide campaign to eliminate hepatitis C, offering free testing and treatment to everyone. The “100 Million Seha” (100 Million Healthy Lives) campaign screened almost 63 million people in 2018–19 using a rapid anti-hepatitis C virus test that delivers results in 20 min. “It was the biggest screening programme in history. We had billboards across the country, 500 screening centres, and we were able to identify 2·5 million people with hepatitis C and treat them all”.

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: