Govt in drive to reduce prevalence of Hepatitis C virus

Wednesday February 26 2020

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It is estimated that 120,000 will need Hepatitis C treatment. PHOTO | FILE  

ARAFAT MUGABO
By ARAFAT MUGABO
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The Government is targeting to reduce the prevalence of Hepatitis C Virus to at least 1 per cent from the current 4 per cent in the next four years.

According to the government, it has intensified early screening, treatment and vaccination campaigns countrywide in an effort to eradicate the disease. Despite the ongoing efforts, funding remains a challenge to achieve universal access screening and treatment.

A recent report by the Rwanda Ministry of Health indicates that 1,500,000 people have been screened with the Hepatitis C virus.

The country aims at screening four million people before the end of 2021. Currently, 15,000 women diagnosed with the hepatitis C virus in the country have been treated and cured even though new cases continue to rise.

Rwanda Today has learnt that the medication given to patients of hepatitis C is HARVONI® (ledipasvir 90 mg/sofosbuvir 400 mg) manufactured by American Gilead Sciences, Inc.

According to a recent report by the Ministry of Health about eliminating hepatitis C in the country, Hepatitis C prevalence among adults is estimated at around 4 per cent, slightly higher in key vulnerable populations, such as people living with HIV.

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It’s more than 16 per cent in people over 55 years. Dr Janvier Serumondo, director of Hepatitis and STI at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) said Rwanda will screen four million people aged 15 and above over the next five years.

It is estimated that 120,000 will need Hepatitis C treatment. Mr Serumondo added that the target is to reduce Hepatitis C Virus prevalence from 4 per cent to 1per cent by 2024.

The focus has been put on ensuring early screening and treatment of diagnosed patients in highly affected parts of the country.

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