Sudan Launches National Strategy to Combat Viral Hepatitis

Haffiya Abdalla

The National Center for Gastrointestinal and Liver diseases is one of 6 specialty centers established in 1995 by a decree from the President of the Republic of Sudan. The main aim was the improvement and promotion of Gastrointestinal (GI) services in Sudan.

The center is supporting the development of GI centers, especially endoscopy units throughout the country, the reference unit being the GI center in Ibn Sina hospital located in Khartoum which acts as a tertiary referral center.

The Federal Ministry of Health inaugurated the national strategy to combat viral hepatitis, in the presence of the Minister of Development and Social Welfare, Dr. Ahmed Adam Bakhit, Director of the WHO Office, Dr. Neama Abed, and health directors in the states, while acknowledging the seriousness of the situation and the high rates of infection among all segments of society.

The Acting Minister of Health, Dr. Haitham Muhammad Ibrahim, described the situation as extremely dangerous through tests and blood banks, adding, “There is a significant and alarming increase in the number of cases, which requires the implementation of interventions at all stages.”

Haitham affirmed the federal and political support for the national strategy to combat viral hepatitis

He revealed that the implementation of the strategy will be at a value of 160 million dollars until 2030 AD, the date of its elimination, pointing to the expansion of centers and the provision of treatment and examinations to the stage of liver transplantation, which was launched at Ibn Sina Hospital. He called on all to fight negative behaviors in society.

Haitham pointed to the importance of raising awareness for social and health sector workers, noting the need to pay attention to patient safety, safe surgery, and control of infection transmission by applying quality standards in hospitals.

The Representative of the World Health Organization in Sudan, Dr. Nima Saeed Abed, revealed the high rates of hepatitis C and B infections worldwide, pointing to the presence of 9 and a half million (9,500) million patients taking treatment, and he noted that only 10% of the infected are known They are infected with the disease, with a low percentage of those receiving treatment, either because of its unavailability or its high cost.

Abed stressed the importance of knowing the extent of the problem, praising what Sudan has accomplished by performing the first liver transplant operation, describing it as a great achievement under exceptional circumstances, pledging the organization’s support for all efforts made by the ministry to combat the disease, stressing the support of the World Health Organization and all partners from other organizations to implement the strategy and achieve its goals.

The Director of the National Center for Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases, Dr. Abdel Moneim Al-Tayeb, acknowledged the high cost of treatment, amounting to 20,000 pounds per month, which requires concerted efforts, pointing to the availability of an examination device at Ibn Sina Hospital and another at Stack Laboratory, stressing the lack of accurate statistics of the size of the disease based on evidence, which requires the availability of statistics. To find out the reality of the disease and the extent of its spread, he indicated that there are 10 examination centers in Khartoum and the same in several states, with plans to complete the rest of the states.

Al-Tayeb said, “Despite the current situation, we succeeded in performing the first liver transplant operation in a government hospital (Ibn Sina),” which is considered an achievement for the Federal Ministry of Health.

Sarah Azhari, Director of the National Program to Control AIDS, Viral Hepatitis and Sexually Transmitted Diseases at the Ministry, confirmed that viral hepatitis kills more than AIDS and malaria, and according to international statistics, a person dies every 30 seconds, indicating that viral hepatitis in Sudan ranks seventh among the 27 highest diseases in the world.

The rates and it is considered an endemic disease, indicating that 90% of patients are not aware of their infection due to the absence of symptoms, which needs to raise awareness of early detection, and added a great challenge to eradicate it by 2030, which requires the Ministry to move resources, activate policies and integrate its services into care centers Providing basic health care and providing vaccination to the infected and the most vulnerable to infection, confirming commitment to implementing the strategy and achieving its goals to eliminate viral hepatitis.

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