The Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is often a silent killer. It can cause both acute and chronic liver disease; ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness, or even liver cancer. It often causes no symptoms until there is irreversible liver damage.
In many areas of the Middle East there are insufficient data about HCV prevalence and understanding around prevention and treatment. For example, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), estimates suggest that up to 2.5% of people suffer from hepatitis C infection. However, less than half of eligible patients have access to treatment.
In December 2012, we co-launched the first National Hepatitis C Awareness Campaign across the UAE with the Emirates Gastroenterology and Hepatology Society. The aim of the six-month campaign was to: raise awareness of and education on Hepatitis C; accelerate prevention and control of viral hepatitis; strengthen relationships with key stakeholders; improve the diagnosis rate through screening activities; enable access to treatment for HCV patients; and conduct screening activities across the UAE.
The target audience for the comprehensive campaign was the general public, hepatitis C patients, charities, healthcare professionals and the media. To reach this nationwide audience, the campaign used a dedicated website and a toll-free number, sent 150,000 text messages, and distributed information cards in English and Arabic, as well as over 50,000 bi-lingual brochures. Numerous ads were also placed in newspapers and on radio.
|Location||United Arab Emirates, North Africa and Middle East|