------------- -------------- ------------------- -------------------
Thursday , January 28 2021

54% of Kuwait residents delaying healthcare appointments

‘Diseases that require laboratory testing, such as HCV, can go undiagnosed’

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 8: Over half (54%) of survey respondents in Kuwait claim that they would avoid going to a clinic or hospital for general health needs while the global pandemic is active.

This is according to a YouGov survey commissioned by Gilead Sciences Middle East. This highlights the effect of COVID-19 on other aspects of healthcare which presents risk for patients of chronic diseases and asymptomatic viral infections such as the hepatitis C virus (HCV). “The fear of contracting the novel coronavirus has seen people become reluctant to visit a clinic for general ailments.

As a result, chronic diseases and other health issues will take less of a priority, and diseases that require laboratory testing, such as HCV, can go undiagnosed which is quite concerning.

Recent research shows that delayed elimination efforts due to COVID-19 will negatively impact the consequences of HCV, so it is crucial for key stakeholders to remain proactive in this domain to achieve national and global elimination targets,”commented Ahmad Al Fadhli, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist, Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital.

Research shows that 71 million people are infected with HCV worldwide with approximately 21% of them (15 million) in the Middle East and North Africa region – this is the most affected region globally. While the prevalence rate in the Kuwait is low (0.8% in Kuwaiti nationals and5.4% in expatriates) , there is a lack of awareness about the virus among the general public, with only 22% of survey respondents highlighting that they know what it is. 90% admitted to not knowing what the symptoms are, 14% know that it can be asymptomatic and only 24% believe that it can lead to serious health complications.

Just 17% are aware of how the virus can be transmitted [mother to child – possibly shared razors, toothbrushes, etc.…] and 15% know how it can be prevented. HCV is a serious liver disease that can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis.

This can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious lifelong illness and is a major cause of liver cancer. The World Health Organization has a target to eliminate HCV by 2030, however, the global impact of a oneyear delay in HCV elimination efforts can lead to 72,000 excess deaths from the virus. When questioned about the use of tele-health services, 60% responded that they would prefer remotely consulting healthcare professionals for health needs while the COVID-19 pandemic is active.

“As a result of the evolving global pandemic, we have seen the acceleration of digitization across many sectors, including the healthcare industry.The introduction of new solutions such as the tele-health concept will play a key role in ensuring better patient access. Simplified micro-elimination models also need to be considered to enhance step by step HCV elimination efforts,”said Dr Al Fadhli.

Micro-elimination has been highlighted as an effective strategy to pursue national elimination of HCV by targeting one population segment at a time through multi-stakeholder initiatives. In fact, at an individual level, the survey highlights that the majority of survey respondents in Kuwait (86%) are more likely to take action for their health if healthcare communications apply specifically to their health needs.

To support the WHO’s HCV elimination target, as well as the efforts by the Ministry of Health of the State of Kuwait and the Kuwait Hepatology Club (KHC), Gilead Sciences Middle East hosts an annual conference for leading medical professionals. This year’s event was hosted virtually in October 2020 and focused on viral hepatitis elimination enhancement. Gilead Sciences is driven by a mission to eliminate all risks to public health.

Through its medical education programs, local, regional and international medical professionals and experts are armed with the tools needed to tackle any issue in the future.

● The effect of COVID-19 on broader aspects of healthcare can impact patients of chronic diseases and asymptomatic viral infections such as the hepatitis C virus (HCV)

● HCV – there is a lack of awareness about HCV in Kuwait, with only 22% of survey respondents highlighting that they know what it is

● Micro-elimination – 86% of respondents are more likely to take action for their health if healthcare communications apply specifically to their health needs

● Tele-health – 60% would prefer remotely consulting healthcare professionals for health needs while the COVID-19 pandemic is active

Meanwhile, over half (52%) of UAE respondents claim that they would avoid going to a clinic or hospital for general health needs while the global pandemic is active. This is according to a YouGov survey commissioned by Gilead Sciences Middle East. This highlights the effect of COVID-19 on other aspects of healthcare which presents risk for patients of chronic diseases and viral infections that can be asymptomatic such as the hepatitis C virus (HCV). “The global pandemic has seen people become anxious about visiting a clinic out of the fear of contracting COVID-19. This is concerning as general ailments, chronic diseases and other health issues will take less of a priority, and diseases such as HCV that require laboratory testing to identify can go undiagnosed. Similarly, delayed elimination efforts due to COVID-19 will negatively impact the consequences of HCV, so it is crucial for key stakeholders to remain proactive in this domain to achieve national and global elimination targets,” commented Dr Samir Al Awadhi, President of the Emirates Gastroenterology and Hepatology society.

Check Also

‘FDA okays world’s most expensive new drug worth $ 2.1m’

KUWAIT CITY, May 27: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new …


You have installed adblocker kindly disable
or

whitelist www.arabtimesonline.com

 

 

 





Translate »