Guyana’s Health Ministry announced that the Government will fully fund the treatment of Hepatitis C patients in the country as a result of a partnership with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
Dr Frank Anthony, the Health Minister, spoke about the challenges faced by those fighting Hepatitis, which included the exorbitant treatment cost, which amounts to around $2000 USD.
He further elaborated on his plan, stating the main goal of this initiative was to contain the spreading of Hep-C, which can further lead to cancer. The minister decided to implement this program, although it is costly, aiming at improving the quality of life and to prevent Hep-C infected patients from developing its chronic version that ultimately leads to hepatic cancer.
The medication used for the Hep-C treatment is more than 90% efficient and the Ministry plans to start the treatment for the patients registered in the database in a couple of months.
The virus can be transmitted sexually or through blood transfusions and can lead to severe liver inflammation. The main detection method of Hep-C is through the blood screening at the Ministry of Health’s blood transfusion laboratories, where they check for Hep-C while blood donation.
More than 350 million people suffer from Hep-C globally according to WHO. While according to a statement by World Hepatitis Summit 2022, there is a huge stigma over the testing for Hepatitis and only 10 to 21 percent of the people are aware that they live with Hepatitis B or C. The summit further states that this discrimination is a barrier to the better quality of life one can have with timely treatment and care. The mission is to help people who can’t afford medical facilities with ease.