The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) announced the launch of a three-year Hepatitis C awareness campaign to raise awareness of the importance of early detection and prevention of Hepatitis C.
This campaign is part of the “EKSHEF” screening initiative for early detection of certain communicable and non-communicable diseases.
The “Early Detection of Hepatitis C” campaign is a major drive to help achieve the strategic goal of the Emirate of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates to eliminate Hepatitis C by 2030.
It includes a range of awareness campaigns and free check-ups for individuals aged 18 years and over. Awareness and screening campaigns will take place across malls, workers’ accommodation sites, government organisations and public spaces.
Dubai Health Authority has organised this three-year campaign in partnership with AbbVie Biopharmaceuticals and Axios Home Care Services, with the aim of raising awareness about early detection and early diagnosis.
Hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus.
The virus can cause acute and chronic hepatitis, ranging in severity from mild illness to serious, lifelong illness including cirrhosis and cancer.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that in 2019, approximately 290,000 people died from hepatitis C disease, mostly from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (primary liver cancer).
Dr. Ramadan Ibrahim AlBlooshi, Acting Director of the Public Health and Protection Department at the Dubai Health Authority, confirmed that the launch of the campaign is in line with the goal of the United Arab Emirates and the World Health Organization to eliminate hepatitis C disease by 2030 and is also in line with UAE’s sustainable development goals.
He highlighted that although the prevalence of the disease is low in the country, it is important to raise community awareness especially because the disease can go undetected.
He said that nearly 80 per cent of people infected with hepatitis C will not develop symptoms.
Dr AlBlooshi added that the latest antiviral drugs and treatments lead to a cure for nearly 95 percent of people suffering from this disease.
Dr. Hend Al Awadhi, Head of Health Promotion at Education at DHA’s Public Health & Protection Department added that the aim of the campaign is to raise awareness among all Dubai residents aged 18 years and over to reduce transmission, treat individuals, stop disease progression, reduce mortality and ultimately eliminate the disease in Dubai altogether.
“Our primary focus at the Public Health Protection Department in this campaign is to raise awareness of the disease. We plan to raise the level of health awareness for individuals through field visits across government entities, malls and workers’ accommodations in Dubai”
During the launch of the campaign, Dr. Hassan Sabah Gulf & Levant General Manager at AbbVie, emphasised the importance of screening and early detection of the hepatitis C virus, noting that the campaign support program directs patients to obtain and adhere to treatment, and provides moral support which patients often lack in the stages of treatment.