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In partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other stakeholders, the Zimbabwean Government is working towards developing a National Viral Hepatitis strategic plan (2019-2022), to bring Zimbabwe’s rising epidemic under control.
Acting Permanent Secretary of Health and Child Care, Dr Gibson Mhlanga, said the strategy is critical to putting the country on course to meeting Sustainable Development Goal number 3, which aims to eliminate hepatitis, TB, HIV and malaria epidemics by the year 2030.
WHO country representative Dr Alex Gasasira applauded Zimbabwe for being among the first countries in Africa to set up a program for the prevention and treatment of viral hepatitis. We applaud them too, for bringing #NOhep in Zimbabwe one step closer 👏 !
Almost 5% of the population of Pakistan are living with hepatitis C, making it one of the countries with the highest viral hepatitis burdens in the world.
To make elimination by 2030 a reality, it’s estimated that Pakistan would need to screen 25 million people annually to diagnose 900,000 hepatitis C infections, and at least 700,000 people would require treatment per year. Eminent Hepatologist Dr. Masood Siddiq expressed that although there has been an increase in hepatitis C testing and treatment services, the treatment uptake is happening at a faster rate than testing people. Several hepatitis C micro-elimination projects have been playing an important role in identifying infected individuals and linking them to treatment, but to reach elimination in Pakistan will require screening of the general population.
Dr. Siddiq believes that efforts should focus on establishing a national policy for screening the general population for hepatitis C infection. He has called for greater political will and a focused effort at both public and private levels, saying, “Although hepatitis C elimination may be ambitious, we believe that strong support from the government and strategic planning can make elimination a reality.”
Ambitious it may be, but we hope to see Pakistan make strides towards NOhep!
When Sofia Bartlett was 10 years old, her dad was diagnosed with hepatitis C. The negative effects of hepatitis C were visible to her and now Sofia wants to help people with hepatitis by speaking out about stigma and addressing the inequalities in the healthcare system.
Sofia is currently completing a postdoctoral fellowship to understand the barriers to care for people with hepatitis C, whilst also serving as the Non-Executive Director of the charity HepCBC.