The Arab Republic of Egypt has become the first country to achieve the “gold tier” status on the path to elimination of hepatitis C as per WHO criteria. This means that Egypt has fulfilled WHO’s programmatic coverage targets that will set the country up to achieve the reduced incidence and mortality targets of full elimination before 2030.
WHO commends Egypt for its important achievement.
“Egypt’s journey, from having one of the world’s highest rates of hepatitis C infection to being on the path to elimination in less than 10 years, is nothing short of astounding,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Egypt is an example to the world of what can be achieved with modern tools, and political commitment at the highest level to use those tools to prevent infections and save lives. Egypt’s success must give all of us hope and motivation to eliminate hepatitis C everywhere.”
WHO notes with appreciation the ongoing commitment of the Ministry of Health and Population to sustain robust screening, care and treatment services for people with HCV. Since Egypt launched its nationwide campaign, – known as the “100 million seha” campaign – which means a 100 million healthy lives – it has resulted in testing over 60 million people and treating more than 4 million people. And by doing so, Egypt reduced the incidence of new infections from 300 per 100 0000 in 2014 to 9 per 100 000 in 2022. This is very close to the ultimate goal of hepatitis C elimination of less than 5 per 100 000 new cases per year and similar levels for viral hepatitis deaths.
“Egypt is an inspiration to many other countries who are working towards the elimination of hepatitis C, hepatitis B or mother to child transmission of hepatitis B. Similar achievements are within reach of many countries if they follow Egypt’s example – and use the tools available and assure political commitment,” said Dr Meg Doherty, WHO’s Director of Global HIV, Hepatitis and STI Programmes. “However, we cannot be complacent as the work for Egypt and other countries is not over; they have achieved the gold tier status on the path to elimination for Hepatitis C, but will need to continue to sustain and step up efforts to reach the final destination of full elimination by 2023. WHO will be with Egypt every step of the way.”
WHO released its second and updated version of the Guidance for country validation of viral hepatitis elimination and path to elimination. Through the validation process, WHO and partners continue to provide country support for strengthening health system capacity and patient-centred services that respect and protect the human rights of people living with viral hepatitis and ensures meaningful engagement of communities in the national, regional and global viral hepatitis response.