STOP Hep C Ghana project receives 50,000 anti-Hepatitis C medicines from Egypt
Ghana has received 50,000 anti-Hepatitis C medicines from the Egyptian government to support the ongoing fight against Hepatitis C in the country.
The medicines would be given for free to persons living with the condition.
The intervention is under the Screening and Treatment Opportunity Project (STOP) for the Hepatitis virus in Ghana, launched in Accra on Friday.
The “STOP Hep C Ghana” project is an Egyptian presidential initiative through its Embassy in Ghana in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to help eradicate Hepatitis C and reduce the disease burden in the country.
In a speech, the Deputy Minister of Health, Mr Mahama Seini, revealed that Hepatitis C was rampant in the Northern Region and the unavailability of enough diagnostic centres in the region was a worry.
He explained that the number of people affected by the illness was taking a toll on the country’s human capital, which could greatly affect socio-economic development in the long term.
Mr Seini urged all persons to adopt the habit of the regular medical screening to know their health status as “health was wealth.”
The Programme Manager of the National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Atsu Godwin Seake-Kwawu, noted the project would improve access to treatment for patients with chronic Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and contribute to viral hepatitis elimination.
He revealed that to ensure the total elimination of the illness, there was the need to “strengthen the hepatitis reporting system, transition to long term plan and project management which includes the general patient recruitment to join the HCV campaign.”
Dr Seake-Kwawu expressed the hope that the “STOP Hep C Ghana” project would contribute to the elimination of the illness in the country.
A hepatologist, Dr Adwoa Agyei-Nkansah, in her remarks, said Hepatitis C was curable, however the cost of treatment and testing was expensive which placed a lot of poor patients at a disadvantage.
She revealed that several discussions were ongoing with some diagnostic centres in the country to subsidise the diagnosis of patients in an attempt to encourage more persons to check their status, seek medical care and eventually eliminate Hepatitis from the country.
Dr Agyei-Nkansah added that the 50,000 drugs received by the government would be distributed to designated areas such as “the regional hospitals, district hospitals and University of Ghana Medical Centre so any patient can visit the hospitals for free medication.”
“Patients will not pay for the drugs. The only thing they will pay for is the investigations that need to be done before the treatment and even that, some of our lab partners have decided to slash down the cost by a certain percentage,” she explained.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH & JESSEL LARTEY THERSON-COFIE