A plan agreed between the Brazilian Ministry of Health, states and municipalities, aims to eliminate hepatitis C in Brazil by 2030. The idea is to simplify diagnosis, expand testing and strengthen care for viral hepatitis.
Hepatitis C is the most common form of hepatitis in Brazil with 11.9 cases per 100,000 reported in 2017. There are more than one million people who had contact with the virus type C, which represents 0.71% of the Brazilian population.
The director of the Department of STI, HIV / AIDS and Viral Hepatitis of the Ministry of Health, Adele Benzaken, explains that the biggest challenge of the Plan is to carry out the search for people who, although diagnosed are not in treatment and those who have not yet been diagnosed . “Hepatitis C is a silent disease. Many people have hepatitis C virus and do not have any symptoms, so diagnosing and treating these people as quickly as possible is essential for their quality of life and also for public health”, the director emphasized.
The treatment, currently available in the SUS, allows more than 90% chance of cure and is offered to all patients with hepatitis, regardless of the degree of liver damage. Since 2015, 76,500 patients have been treated. To meet the goals of the new plan, the Ministry of Health is in the process of acquiring 50,000 new treatments.
The elimination plan is aligned with the goals of the World Health Organization (WHO), the goal is to treat 19,000 people this year, and from 2019, 50,000 patients per year by 2024. From 2025, this number to be 32 thousand new treatments per year. Thus, it is expected to reduce hepatitis C mortality by 65% by 2030.
In the area of diagnosis, 24,400 people with hepatitis C were notified in 2017. By 2030, the goal is to increase diagnosis and treatment to reduce the number of new cases by 90%. By 2018, the goal is to diagnose 30,000 people in 2018 and, from 2019, 40,000 a year by 2030. To increase the diagnosis, the Ministry of Health distributed 12 million tests in 2017; of these, 9 million were for hepatitis C. The goal is to test for 100% of the priority public hepatitis C by 2030.
The Secretary of Health Surveillance, Osnei Okumoto, stressed that besides the assistance, the Ministry of Health is also investing in communication for social networks. “From today we are launching a video on the social networks with the chef Henrique Fogaça, which creates doubts about the prevention of hepattes in general, so that we will reach this young audience.”