Egypt is celebrating a landmark achievement: winning WHO’s Gold Tier for eradicating Hepatitis C.
On 9 October 2023, the World Health Organisation (WHO) awarded Egypt a certificate and gold tier status for being the world’s first country on the path to eliminating the Hepatitis C virus.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom handed the certificate to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in a meeting in Cairo.
According to a statement by the Egyptian presidency, President Sisi thanked WHO for its support, expressing his pleasure with the achievement given that the disease has long been a chronic health scourge in Egypt.
Egypt, the President said, dedicated all its capabilities to eliminating Hepatitis C through establishing treatment centres, preparing medical cadres, and providing millions of doses of medicine.
To earn WHO’s gold tier, a country must diagnose at least 80 per cent of people living with Hepatitis C and provide treatment to at least 70 per cent.
According to WHO, Egypt diagnosed 87 per cent of the people living with Hepatitis C and provided 93 per cent of them with curative treatments.
On its website, WHO posted the following statement to the media, signed by WHO Director General:
“I have just had the honour of meeting with His Excellency President El-Sisi, and presenting him with the official certification that Egypt has become the first country in the world to achieve Gold Tier status on the path to elimination of Hepatitis C.
This is a great day for Egypt, and a great day in the history of public health.
Less than 10 years ago, Egypt had one of the highest hepatitis C prevalence rates in the world.
Egypt’s journey from that point to now being on the path to eliminating hepatitis C is simply astonishing.
Left untreated, hepatitis C can cause liver disease and cancer, and premature death.
There is no vaccine for hepatitis C, but it can be cured with treatments that cost as little as 60US dollars for an 8 to 12 week course.
And yet globally, 80 per cent of people living with hepatitis C remain undiagnosed, and almost 90% remain untreated.
Egypt has showed the world that this should not be the case.
Through President Sisi’s commitment in the “100 million seha” campaign, Egypt diagnosed almost 90 per cent of people estimated to have hepatitis C, and provided treatment to more than 93 per cent of them.
These achievements exceed the targets WHO has set for achieving gold tier status.
A key factor in the campaign’s success was using locally manufactured direct acting antiviral treatments.
Egypt also scaled up programmes on patient safety, injection safety, blood safety, and harm reduction for people who use drugs.
WHO supported the Health Ministry with technical guidelines and tools, providing a human-rights-based approach to hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment.
We also advocated for the inclusion of vulnerable groups such as refugees and migrants, helped to build the capacities of health workers, and supported community awareness campaigns.
Egypt’s success is an example for the world of what is possible.
And it is not the only health achievement of which Egypt should be proud. It follows Egypt’s validation last year for the elimination of rubella and measles.
On behalf of WHO, I congratulate Egypt for this achievement, and I thank everyone who has contributed to it.
Achieving gold tier status means you are very close to the finish line.
We encouragement Egypt to continue moving forward towards the destination of eliminating hepatitis C as a public health problem.
And WHO will be with you every step of the way.”
In a celebration held at the Giza Pyramids, Egypt’s Minister of Health and Population, Dr Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar said “Obtaining the Gold Tier for eliminating hepatitis C is a crowning to Egypt’s efforts.”
The celebration was attended by Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Dr Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of the WHO, and a number of Egyptian and Arab ministers, countries of the Eastern Mediterranean region, and ambassadors, as well as representatives of international organisations.
Dr Abdel-Ghaffar reviewed Egypt’s journey in combating hepatitis C
10 October 2023