KIGALI, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Rwanda on Tuesday launched a five-year plan to detect and treat hepatitis C virus as part of a campaign that aims at eliminating hepatitis C in the country.
Through the hepatitis C virus five-year elimination plan that targets to eliminate hepatitis C in the central African country and reducing fatalities from the virus, Rwanda intends to screen over 4 million people aged 15 and above in a period of 3 years, said Diane Gashumba, Rwandan minister of health, during the launch in the capital city Kigali.
Those found with the virus will receive urgent medical care, said Gashumba, adding that the plan would help promote and facilitate hepatitis C prevention, care and treatment, and reinforce people's willingness to participate in early diagnosis, treatment and vaccination.
The Rwandan government is embarking on the massive sensitization campaign across the country about hepatitis C management including free screening and vaccination in the five year plan, she said.
The campaign will be carried out through various surveillance points at health care units, hospitals, mobile clinics and other health facilities nationwide across the country, the minister said.
Hepatitis C infections in Rwanda stand at 4 percent of the population, statistics released on the event by Rwanda Biomedical Center showed.
Globally, an estimated 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C infection, and approximately 399,000 people die each year from hepatitis C, mostly from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, according to the website of World Health Organization, updated in July 31.