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UAE launches Nation wide Awareness Campaign Against Hepatitis C

WAM Abu Dhabi, 20 Dec., 2012 (WAM)– The region’s first Hepatitis C national awareness campaign was launched in the UAE yesterday to raise awareness and encourage UAE residents to be screened for Hepatitis C, The campaign was launched yesterday by Emirates Gastroenterology and Hepatology Society (EGHS)-Emirates Medical Association, UAE Red Crescent, Zakat Fund and Patient’s Friends Committee.

An awareness campaign about Hepatitis C is important because it can be successfully treated before liver damage has a chance to progress and a liver transplant is needed.

“Raising awareness for the disease is vital as acute infection is so often missed, due to the majority of those infected having no symptoms, thus no reason for concern, initially. This two month public awareness campaign highlights the importance of screening, disease management, treatment options and the steps that can be taken to increase patient’s adherence to improve their treatment outcomes,” said EGHS-Emirates Medical Association President Dr Maryam Alkhatry .

The campaign will provide free screening to 4000 walk-in visitors at dedicated screening centres located in various shopping malls and social clubs in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain and Sharjah, UAE dailies reported today.

“We will place Hep-C screening centres in different shopping malls across the country. The centres can accommodate about 4,000 walk-in visitors throughout the two-month period. The test is pretty simple and the screening facility can be (used) for free. We are trying to study the disease in this case, because there is very little data on this matter in the UAE,” Dr Alkhatry added.

“Liver transplants cost around Dh2 million so getting screened earlier can avoid such costs. People should also be aware that Hepatitis C is not preventable but can be treated, so getting screened is really vital,” said Dr Salem Awadh, a member of EGHS The campaign also highlights the importance of screening, disease management, treatment options and the steps that can be taken to increase patient’s adherence to improve their treatment outcomes.

WAM/Latheef