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Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 06 - 12 - 2018


Checking for Hepatitis C
SINCE the launch of the first phase of the Hepatitis C campaign in October, 15.5 million people have been examined. According to Health Minister Hala Zayed, 4.5 per cent have tested positive for the virus. The first phase, carried out in nine governorates, saw a high turnout of citizens, the minister stated.
On 1 December Zayed announced the start of the second phase due to cover 11 governorates, including Cairo. The total number targeted at this stage, which ends in February next year, is more than 20 million. Stage three is scheduled to end in late April.
By the end, the campaign plans to completely eradicate the Hepatitis C virus by 2020. A total of 45 million people aged 19 to 59 will be scanned by PCR tests. The screening is conducted in collaboration with the UN World Health Organisation (WHO). Those testing positive for the illness are expected to undergo further check-ups and will be provided with free medication.
Egypt has the highest rate of Hepatitis C in the world, first surfacing in the 1950s due to unsterilised injections. The highly infectious virus kills an estimated 40,000 Egyptians a year. At least one in 10 of the population aged 15-59 are infected, according to the WHO.
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Fight over anesthesia
TWO doctors working for a public hospital in Menoufiya governorate were referred to a prosecution investigation in the wake of a fight which broke out in the hospital's operating theatre. An obstetrician had asked an anaesthesiologist to provide anaesthesia — at the same time — to two pregnant women who were due to deliver by Caesarean. When the anaesthesiologist refused, the obstetrician physically attacked him. Two other doctors took their place. The anaesthesiologist was reported to have serious injuries. Nasif Al-Hefnawi, Health Ministry under-secretary in Menoufiya, sided with the anaesthesiologist, saying he acted professionally. “Providing anaesthesia to two patients at the same time is prohibited by law. It may endanger their lives in case of any complications,” Al-Hefnawi said.
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Fishermen's fate unknown
SEARCH and rescue vessels were dispatched on Sunday to look for 14 fishermen who were aboard a fishing boat that sank in the Gulf of Suez on 29 November. Contact with the Yassin Al-Zoheiri has since been cut and the fate of the fishermen is unknown. The search vessels, equipped with advanced radar and sonar equipment, will cross the Suez Canal heading to the Gulf of Suez.
A previous search for the fishermen by rescue teams failed to find the boat. Some wooden pieces of the sunken vessel were reported to have been found on the water's surface of the Gulf of Suez. Initial investigations said the boat sank after colliding with a large vessel passing through the Gulf of Suez.


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