Hepatitis C alert

On occasion of the World Hepatitis Day, experts in the UAE call for mass awareness on Hepatitis C
The Community By Khushboo Naved Devji
Published on August 1, 2014
Hepatitis alert

DUBAI On the occasion of the World Hepatitis Day on July 28, 2014, experts in the UAE have called for mass awareness to control the spread of Hepatitis C by encouraging people to identify the symptoms and seek diagnosis. Common symptoms include fever, fatigue, nausea, muscle and joint pain or jaundice. People are recommended to take screening tests if any of these symptoms arise. However, according to experts, 80 per cent of Hepatitis C patients live symptom free for years without knowing they are infected, while the virus wreaks havoc. “The disease is curable and people can go back to their normal lives if its detected early and treated accordingly. Hence, we urge people to identify symptoms and undertake screening tests without delay,” Dr Mariam Al Khatery, President of Emirates Gastroenterology Society, said. To address the issue, Roche has teamed up with Emirates Gastroenterology Society and Charities in the UAE to implement the Hepatitis C Patient Accelerate Programme.

“Our partnership to develop the HCV Patient Accelerate Programme has been a part of our continuous efforts to control the spread of Hepatitis C in the UAE, by increasing patient access to quality treatment and fulfilling our commitment to the society. We support the extensive work being done by charities, NGOs and the medical community in increasing disease awareness, education of social workers and helping patients in need,” Slobodan Nedeljkovic MD, Head of Medical Roche Middle East, said. Charities in the UAE play a critical role in facilitating accurate treatment for Hepatitis C patients in need. In total, 1970 people have enrolled in the programme so far. Of those enrolled, 322 patients are already receiving treatments with the assistance of charities and NGOs. One of those charities participating in this project is Dar Al Ber. During Ramadan, Dar Al Ber Society launched a special programme to collect funds to help patients who can’t afford to pay for treatment. Red Crescent has also setup a medical centre in Sharjah dedicated to help Hepatitis C patients. These charities also undertake different measures to help people reduce the risk of getting the disease. according to Dr Maryam, you must ask yourself the following questions:
•Did you receive a blood or blood component transfusion or an organ transplant before 1992?
•Have you ever received hemodialysis?
•Do you have any tattoos or body piercing?
•Have you shared items that might have had blood on them, such as razors, nail clippers, scissors, and toothbrush etc?
•Is your partner or any of your household members’ hepatitis C positive?
•Have you had any contact with blood at your workplace, especially if you are (or were) a healthcare worker, police officer, firefighter, etc.?
•Did your mother have hepatitis C when you were born?
If your answer to any of these questions is a ‘Yes’, get a blood test done to determine the presence of Hepatitis C and seek accurate treatment at an early stage.

FAST FACTS

  • Look out for common symptoms like fever, fatigue, nausea, muscle and joint pain and jaundice. Do go for a screening test
  • 130-150 million people worldwide have Hepatitis C infection, with 350,000-500,000 deaths every year
  • Around 80 per cent of Hepatitis C patients live symptom free for years without knowing they are infected
  • Roche, in partnership with Emirates Gastroenterology Society and Charities in the UAE continue to implement Hepatitis C Patient Accelerate Programme with the toll-free number 800HEPC (800 4372) to help people who are seeking guidance or information on Hepatitis C

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