Ministry of Public Health strategy to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030

The Ministry of Public Health  (MoPH) officially launched 2018-22 Strategic Framework for Combating Viral Hepatitis in Qatar.

The strategic framework aims to eliminate viral hepatitis in Qatar by 2030 by completely eliminating new infections among the community while reducing the spread of chronic infections and reducing mortality rate caused by viral hepatitis. 

The framework reflects a full commitment to the implementation of high-quality disease control interventions at the national level, said the Ministry in a statement issued yesterday.

The most important interventions planned in the Strategic Framework are to maintain high levels of coverage of disease awareness and early screening services and to increase the number of beneficiaries of care and treatment services easily and at low cost especially among the most vulnerable groups of the disease.

It also aims at maintaining high levels of coverage with the viral hepatitis vaccine of A and B among children and the most vulnerable groups such as medical services providers. 

Key interventions in the strategic framework also include the continuation of laboratory testing services for all blood donors with strict application of infection control procedures and safe use of injections.

Dr. Saad Al Kaabi, Chairman of the National Working Group on Viral Hepatitis and Head of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Hamad Medical Corporation, explained that the strategic framework is based on the Qatar National Vision 2030, the National Health Strategy and the Qatar Public Health Strategy.

He said that the strategic framework includes five strategic directions covering activities that enhance coordination efforts between different sectors; providing a high level of quality epidemiological information about the disease; providing all preventive and therapeutic viral hepatitis services; and achieving comprehensive coverage of these services while providing the necessary resources.

Dr. Hamad Eid Al Rumaihi, Director of Protection of Health and Communicable Diseases at MoPH, highlighted the importance of the strategic framework to combat viral hepatitis, which was completed last year and contributes to the strengthening of Qatar’s efforts to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030.

He added that Qatar is taking a strategic approach to control and eliminate viral hepatitis through the joint efforts of the Ministry, HMC, PHCC, QRCS, private sector and many local and international partners. 

The patients are treated there with the latest and most effective drugs for the treatment of viral hepatitis C, known as “direct-acting antiviral drugs”, which are provided free of charge to all citizens and residents through the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Hamad Medical Corporation in cooperation with the Qatar Red Crescent, private sector and many other partners in the country.

The prevalence of type C viral hepatitis is 0.8% among the entire population and this percentage is only 0.25% among Qatari nationals. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Qatar is a country with a low burden of viral hepatitis B, with a prevalence of less than 2 percent. International scientific reports have shown that Qatar is on track to eliminate viral hepatitis C by 2030.

As seen on Peninsula Qatar  Image Credits Peninsula Qatar