July 3, 2013

MSD supports greater awareness of hepatitis in Jordan


Press Release

Jordan: 5 hours, 24 minutes ago

As part of their ongoing commitment to raising of key disease areas that the affect the local communities in which they work, most, MSD partnered with the Friends of Liver Patients Society in Jordan to raise awareness of the growing prevalence of hepatitis in the country.

To create awareness of the disease a cycling event organized by the society and sponsored by MSD was hosted on World Hepatitis Day.

Members of the society in addition to volunteers from MSD in Jordan and members of the general public joined the event cycling from the 8th roundabout to Rainbow Road, to raise money for hepatitis patients and create awareness amongst Jordanian citizens.

Talking about their decision to support the event, Mr. Omar Rifi, Managing Director of MSD Levant, said "At MSD we are committed to raising awareness of serious life-threatening diseases such as hepatitis. One of the major problems with hepatitis is that it is a silent killer and is often left undiagnosed until complications such as liver failure or liver cancer develop. Raising awareness of the risks of hepatitis and the ways in which it can be managed are crucial if we are to start addressing this growing epidemic. Already almost 170 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis, in Jordan it is estimated that over 0.6% of the population suffer from the virus. Through sponsoring events such as this we can start to create the important awareness needed to ensure patients are diagnosed at an early stage, ensuring lives are saved and patients have access to a better quality and longer life."

Adding to Mr. Rifi's comments, Ms. Randa Toqan, the Chairperson of Friends of Liver Patients Society, said "Organizing this event is an important opportunity for us to show our support of the growing number of hepatitis patients in Jordan. If detected in the early stages, hepatitis can be an extremely manageable disease and the Jordanian government has worked extensively to ensure that citizens have access to free hepatitis treatment. By cycling across downtown Amman, we hope to be able to create the importance awareness amongst the general public which is needed to ensure, citizens get tested for the virus and have access to the support they need should they be diagnosed with the disease."

Dr. Amer Al Khatieb, also a member of the Society added "In developing countries, chronic hepatitis is a leading cause of liver cirrhosis, fibrosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver transplantation. Patient and physician awareness is crucial if life threatening complications are to be prevented. Studies have shown that through awareness the prevalence of diseases can be significantly reduced. "

"World Hepatitis Day is of great importance, and offers us an opportunity to raise awareness of Hepatitis as a silent killer, which can cause both liver damage and failure. We want this issue to be heard by every Jordanian citizen, and this is crucial if we are to raise awareness reduce prevalence rates among citizens. Jordan is leading the way, in combating Hepatitis through nationwide awareness campaigns, by providing greater access to treatment and by working closely with medical professionals. We must all work together if we are to increase early detection rates and reduce prevalence of the disease. Early detection is essential if we are to save lives and prevent complications that occur when treatment is only received in the later stages of the virus." said Dr. Ghadier Al Qerm- a member of the Friends of Liver Patients Society.

Another Member of the Society, Dr. Waseem Hamouda went on to say, "We commemorate World Hepatitis Day every year and have been doing so since 2007. This day is an important opportunity for us to raise awareness of the importance of testing and the treatment options available to hepatitis patients The Society aims to support liver patients and over the years we have taken many steps to improve to help reduce the prevalence of this virus in Jordan. One of our most important achievements was the introduction of the Hepatitis vaccine into the national vaccination program, which happened in 1995."

MSD's sponsorship of this event is just the latest in a long line of initiatives that the company has undertaken in Jordan to raise awareness of the growing prevalence of hepatitis. In addition to raising public awareness, MSD works closely with local physicians to ensure they have access to the continued education they need to enable them to provide their patients with the best medical care possible. Most recently, MSD conducted a series of workshops to support GP's from Irbid and Zarqa in treating hepatitis patients, with plans to roll these workshops out, across Jordan.


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