PETALING JAYA: Free Hepatitis C screenings will be offered in over 100 locations nationwide in the biggest national screening campaign ever.
The screenings, which started yesterday and will go until July 21, are being held in conjunction with World Hepatitis Day, which is celebrated globally on July 28.
Examinations are bring held at hospitals and primary healthcare centres, listed at https://bit.ly/2YTKbOB.
“This initiative is the biggest national screening event ever by our Federal Government and will play a significant role in our Hepatitis C elimination efforts towards 2030.
“It will also help to support and accelerate the scale-up activities of Hepatitis C screening in-country,” Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement yesterday.
He said an estimated 400,000 Malaysians were infected with Hepatitis C and as such, it was vital for Malaysians to be tested and treated for the blood-borne disease.
“Hepatitis C is very difficult to detect because it shows no symptoms until at a later stage.
“We want all Malaysians to understand the risk factors for Hepatitis C so that we can tackle the health burden in this country and prevent new cases from occurring,” he said.
The Hepatitis C virus can cause severe liver disease, such as cirrhosis or liver cancer.
The disease can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious lifelong illness.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Protection, about 75%-85% of people infected with hepatitis C virus will develop a chronic (lifelong) infection.
The Health Ministry’s campaign is conducted in collaboration with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics.
Earlier this year, Malaysia was commended by Medicins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, for its effort in enabling greater access to generic versions of a Hepatitis C drug.