KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 — The Health Ministry today urged Malaysians to get tested and treated for Hepatitis C for free at public clinics and hospitals nationwide.
Ahead of World Hepatitis Day 2019 on July 28, the Health Ministry, together with Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), shortlisted over 100 screening sites in hospitals and primary health care centres for their Hepatitis C screening campaign from today to July 21.
“This initiative is the biggest national screening event ever attempted by our government and will play a significant role in our Hepatitis C elimination efforts towards 2030,” Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement.
“This initiative will also help to support and accelerate the scale-up activities of Hepatitis C screening in-country.”
He noted that 400,000 people are estimated to be infected with Hepatitis C in Malaysia, as he urged everyone to get tested and treated for the liver infection caused by the Hepatitis C virus.
“Hepatitis C is very difficult to detect because it shows no symptoms until at a later stage,” he said.
Most people with chronic Hepatitis C do not show any symptoms, or have general or common symptoms like chronic fatigue and depression, according to the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many later develop chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver cancer.