WHO - World Health Organization

10/09/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/09/2023 06:23

Statement to the media on certification of Egypt reaching the gold tier on the Path to Elimination for HCV Cairo, Egypt – 9 October 2023

I have just had the honour of meeting with His Excellency President El-Sisi, and presenting him with the official certification that Egypt has become the first country in the world to achieve Gold Tier status on the path to elimination of Hepatitis C.

This is a great day for Egypt, and a great day in the history of public health.

Less than 10 years ago, Egypt had one of the highest hepatitis C prevalence rates in the world.

Egypt's journey from that point to now being on the path to eliminating hepatitis C is simply astonishing.

Left untreated, hepatitis C can cause liver disease and cancer, and premature death.

There is no vaccine for hepatitis C, but it can be cured with treatments that cost as little as 60 US dollars for an 8 to 12 week course.

And yet globally, 80% of people living with hepatitis C remain undiagnosed, and almost 90% remain untreated.

Egypt has showed the world that this should not be the case.

Through the President's commitment in the "100 million seha" campaign, Egypt diagnosed almost 90% of people estimated to have hepatitis C, and provided treatment to more than 93% of them.

These achievements exceed the targets WHO has set for achieving gold tier status.

A key factor in the campaign's success was using locally manufactured direct acting antiviral treatments.

Egypt also scaled up programmes on patient safety, injection safety, blood safety, and harm reduction for people who use drugs.

WHO supported the Health Ministry with technical guidelines and tools, providing a human-rights-based approach to hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment.

We also advocated for the inclusion of vulnerable groups such as refugees and migrants, helped to build the capacities of health workers, and supported community awareness campaigns.

Egypt's success is an example for the world of what is possible.

And it is not the only health achievement of which Egypt should be proud. It follows Egypt's validation last year for the elimination of rubella and measles.

On behalf of WHO, I congratulate Egypt for this achievement, and I thank everyone who has contributed to it.

Achieving gold tier status means you are very close to the finish line.

We encouragement Egypt to continue moving forward towards the destination of eliminating hepatitis C as a public health problem.

And WHO will be with you every step of the way.

I thank you.