QRCS, ABBVIE JOIN HANDS TO FIGHT HEPATITIS C IN QATAR

April, – Qatar Red Crescent (QRCS) and AbbVie Biopharmaceuticals GmbH on Saturday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to inaugurate a public hepatitis C awareness programme in Qatar.

QRCS Secretary-General, Ali Hassan Al-Hammadi, said in a press conference held on the occassion, the programme involves awareness and fundraising activities to help hepatitis C patients in Qatar. This is part of an agreement signed earlier with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) to sponsor expatriate hepatitis C patients who cannot afford the costs of treatment.

“In conformity with the advancement in health care and other sectors, and under the global plan of World Health Organization (WHO) for a world free of hepatitis C by 2020, MoPH and HMC geared up for major action in this respect. As an auxiliary to the State of Qatar in its humanitarian and social policies, QRCS is taking its part of health education and medical coverage for residents with hepatitis C,” saidl-Hammadi.

Hepatitis C, he added, is a serious health threat to millions of people around the world, affecting normal lifestyles, productivity, health care systems, tourism attractiveness, and other aspects of economy.

In his speech, HE Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani said, “In Qatar, the prevalence of hepatitis C is 0.8% among the whole population and only 0.25% among Qatari nationals. However, this disease is one of the government’s health priorities, in view of its grave implications for personal health and the national medical system”.

“To protect the health of both nationals and residents, the government adopted a well-designed strategy to control this disease by 2020. We have successfully reduced its prevalence, through four pillars: awareness, early examination, treatment, and follow-up. Several parties are involved, including MoPH, HMC, Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), QRCS, and Ministry of Interior’s (MoI) Medical Services Department,” he told reporters.

He revealed the treatment of more than 1,000 patients, launch of awareness and early detection courses, construction and an integrated database supported with academic papers and scientific journals.

For his side, Abi Nakhoul stated, “By virtue of many years of hard work, we have made a track record and become well in place to provide high-quality health care for our patients. We are determined to go on with our patient-oriented incurable disease control and awareness efforts”.

According to him, 95% of people with hepatitis C are not aware of their infection. Liver tests are complicated and costly. “As health service providers, you are the cornerstone of this initiative. Together, we can overcome the challenges of this disease. We are sure that you are able to help those who suffer this fatal virus,” he concluded.

A presentation was given on QRCS’s Patient Assistance Fund and the agreement with HMC to cover 450 patients per year. HMC would checklist the beneficiaries, whose eligibility would then be decided by a joint committee. Also, QRCS would hold public awareness lectures and events, distribute preventive fliers and brochures, and post online health education messages via social media. (QNA)

Source: Qatar News Agency

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