The Dubai Health Authority, DHA, announced today the inclusion of free screening and treatment for Hepatitis C under the basic benefit plan of the Dubai Mandatory Health Insurance Scheme.
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus, HVC. According to the World Health Organisation, WHO, approximately 399,000 people die each year from hepatitis C, mostly from cirrhosis and liver cancer, often due to late diagnosis of the disease.
Presently, prevalence of the disease in Dubai is approximately 0.23 percent of the population.
Humaid Al Qutami, Director-General of the DHA, said that "Ninety-eight percent of the population in Dubai has the mandatory health insurance scheme and thus focusing on preventive medicine through this scheme ensures wide coverage and directly benefits the community. The programme will especially help those with limited coverage, it will lead to early diagnosis and reduce complications and provide financial and emotional support to patients with Hepatitis C."
He added that in December 2017, Dubai became the first government body in the world to cover screening and treatment of three types of the most curable cancers.
Al Qutami said, "Providing the whole community with such wide-scale preventive screening mechanisms has been possible because of the support of our partners, both government and private."
Ahmed Al Nuaimi, CEO of Joint Corporate Support Services said, "This is yet another milestone in terms of health insurance coverage after we launched the Basmah initiative in 2017. Under this initiative, if a patient is detected with Hepatitis C, the DHA Patient Tracking and Follow-Up Centre is automatically notified. They ensure that the complete treatment process for the patient is smooth and streamlined."
In 2017, the funding department added screening services for diabetes, heart disease, new born and developmental screening as part of the mandatory health insurance cover with an aim to provide holistic health screening services under the insurance umbrella.