New Zealand Plans To Eliminate Hepatitis C By 2030


New Zealand plans to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030

WELLINGTON, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 28th Jul, 2021 ) --:New Zealand released a plan to eliminate hepatitis C as a major health threat in the country on Wednesday, which is the World Hepatitis Day.

"Around 45,000 New Zealanders have hepatitis C, but only around half know they have it," Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall said while unveiling the National Hepatitis C Action Plan at a mobile, pop-up testing clinic in Hamilton.

The plan is New Zealand's response to the World Health Organization's global hepatitis strategy, and sets out how the country will eliminate hepatitis C as a major public health threat by 2030.

"Symptoms often don't appear until much of the damage has been done. Without treatment, most people will develop progressive liver damage," Verrall said, adding Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants in New Zealand, and the second leading cause of liver cancer -- behind hepatitis B.

"At the same time, many of those with hepatitis C are from our most marginalized communities, and face significant barriers to getting tested and treated -- including stigma around the virus," she said.

However, Verrall said hepatitis C is preventable and curable.

Since February 2019, around 4,500 New Zealanders with hepatitis C have been treated with Maviret, a new direct-acting antiviral treatment funded by pharmaceutical management agency PHARMAC. Maviret is simple to administer, has fewer side effects than previous treatments, and can potentially cure 98 percent of people with chronic hepatitis C, she said.