Sulemana Musah, a schoolteacher in Accra, Ghana, started feeling sick in 2011, while he was a student, but he didn’t receive a hepatitis C diagnosis until 2017. Photo Credit: Natalija Gormalova for The New York Times

Health Egypt21. December 2023

This Country Is Set to Eradicate Hepatitis C

Following a national program to cure its population of hepatitis C, Egypt is on track to be the world’s first country to cure the deadly infection. It is dedicated to sharing its resources, expertise, and drugs to treat one million African patients.

“The Egyptian government saw an opportunity to extend its expertise beyond its borders and contribute to global health efforts,” states Khaled Ghaffar, Egypt’s minister of health and population. “This health diplomacy allows Egypt to leverage its success with hepatitis treatment for the greater benefit of humanity while simultaneously enhancing its standing among the global community.”

In 2007, Egypt screened its entire population – four in five people don’t know they are sick – and used two old drugs to treat the infected. In 2013, Egypt broke a deal with Gilead Sciences Inc. to market an antiviral drug, the first cure for a viral infection in the history of medicine, costing $1,000 for a once-a-day pill in the United States. Egypt negotiated to buy it for $10 a pill, going as far as arranging for Indian and Egyptian drug companies to make an even cheaper generic version in exchange for royalty. So far, Egypt has treated more than four million people, cutting hepatitis C prevalence to just 0.4%. Most of the hepatitis C cases – 50 out of 58 million worldwide – live in low- and middle-income countries. Egypt is setting up parallel hepatitis C programs first in Ghana, then in Chad and Sudan, to name a few.

The New York Times

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