The Portuguese Association for the Study of the Liver (APEF) congratulates the Autonomous Region of Madeira for the excellent results obtained with its Hepatitis C Elimination Program, which changes that this will be the first region in Portugal and probably one of the first in Europe , an eradicate the hepatitis C virus.
The president of APEF, Dr. José Presa, also leaves a message to the central political power, alerting to the urgent need for this program to be implemented and put into practice throughout the national territory.
“The situation in Madeira is inspiring and should be an example. The Hepatitis C Elimination Program, developed based on the implementation of the FOCUS Screening Program, was put into practice due to the interest shown by the Regional Health Secretariat of Madeira, a project developed by health professionals in the field. The central government must focus on this way of working and address the hypotheses”, says Dr. José Presa, following the ceremony to present the results of the program in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.
According to him, as they pointed out 2030 as the year in which Portugal would eliminate hepatitis C, however they were changed to 2050. “Fortunately, we have Madeira, which, long before 2030, will track the entire population, curing and eradicating the disease. ”
“During a COVID-19 pandemic there was a decrease of around 62% of cases treated for hepatitis C in Portugal, a situation that will become heavy in the coming years. Meanwhile, in Madeira, during the pandemic, the number of tests was growing, with excellent results”, he mentions.
The FOCUS program’s tracking model is based on the integration of testing into daily clinical practice, using existing infrastructure and staff. Covers hospitals and health centers. If the person has not yet been screened, during an appointment, the doctor receives a computer alert, which indicates that the patient meets the criteria for inclusion in the screening and that they have not yet performed this analysis, and the computer system itself processes the antibody request . The nurse, when taking the blood, verbally informs the patient. In this way, only one harvest is made.