A total of 71 million of the world population are Hepatitis C patients according to a World Health Organization report.
In Rwanda, the disease is mostly reported among people aged over 50 and 60. Research carried out in 2018 revealed that 4% of Rwandans are Hepatitis C patients of whom the majority hail from Eastern and Southern Provinces.
The disease damages the liver leaving the patient is susceptible to cancer.
It can be transmitted through infected blood, sharp objects or at birth. Hepatitis C aggravates if the patient spends over six months without treatment.
In a bid to fight the disease, Rwanda launched a five-year campaign mobilizing everyone to contribute to the cause.
The efforts have been launched under the campaign dubbed ‘Rwanda Cares’ held at Kigali Convention Center yesterday to organize in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the Private Sector Federation and Rwanda Interfaith Council among other partners.
Rwanda was the first country to make Hepatitis C drugs available at an affordable cost. The price was cut down from US $86 000 in 2012 to US $60 while the cost of diagnosis went down from US $30 to US $1.
Madam Jeannette Kagame said that Rwandans are blessed with good leadership that made screening and treatment easier.
She thanked partners for continuous commitment towards empowering Rwandan communities to have healthier lives.
“Your support towards the fight against Hepatitis C has led to significant achievements; 1,000,000 Rwandans already screened and 15,000 people treated and cured, as a part of our country’s 5-year control and elimination plan,” said the First Lady.
“The elimination of Hepatitis C is a fight that we are yet to claim victory over, but it is one that we can successfully accomplish, with the continued partnership of all stakeholders, from the public to the private spheres,” she added.
Rwanda targets to cut the number of Hepatitis C patients from 4% to 1.2% and enable access to treatment for 90% of patients aged over 15 years. A total of US $43.5 million was injected pumped in the campaign.