The Ministry of Health and Wellness would introduce, by the end of this year, the micro-elimination approach to eliminating hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in haemodialysis patients in Mauritius.
The announcement was made by the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, this afternoon, at Dr Abdool Gafoor Jeetoo Hospital in Port Louis, during a ceremony held to mark World Hepatitis Day 2021. A television spot, which would be aired on national television as part of the outreach programme to raise awareness on viral hepatitis, was launched on the occasion.
The Minister is of the view that the micro-elimination approach would make for a more efficient allocation of resources and foster the use of local expertise. He stated that the micro-elimination strategy would also be adopted in the Eastern High Security Prison in Melrose where presently some 42 HCV-infected inmates are being treated.
Moreover, highlighted Dr Jagutpal, a national hepatitis C database would be created to enable a more effective follow-up of patients. He stressed that in a bid to decentralise treatment services for HCV infection, three more treatment centres, including one in Rodrigues, would be added up to the 13 ones already in operation.
According to the Minister, the establishment of a National Committee on viral hepatitis and the opening of a Gastroenterology and Hepatology Unit at Dr Abdool Gafoor Jeetoo Hospital have contributed to efforts to detect and treat HCV-infected people. Some 211 patients are under treatment, while 327 people have completed their treatment and 188 have been cured, underlined Dr Jagutpal. However, averred the Minister, with some 10,000 people estimated to be HCV-infected in the country, the task is considerable to achieve the target of eliminating HCV by 2030.
It is recalled that World Hepatitis Day is observed annually on 28 July. The objective is to raise awareness of viral hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that causes severe liver disease and hepatocellular cancer. The theme for this year is “Hepatitis can’t wait”.