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    AIDS, Hepatitis Patients in Morocco Call For Health Coverage

    Under King Mohammed VI’s ambitious social security program, Morocco hopes to achieve universal health care by 2025.

    07 Oct 2021

    In an open letter to Morocco’s new Prime Minister, Aziz Akhannouch, the Moroccan Association for the Fight against AIDS (ALCS) called for the implementation of the royal pledge to expand Morocco’s health coverage.

    The association invoked the conclusions of a workshop recently organized by King Mohammed VI to stress his plan to include all Moroccan citizens in his ambitious social security project, urging authorities to pay more attention to categories of populations suffering from chronic diseases.

    Morocco’s new government should take into consideration the country’s public institutions and local authorities’ recognition of the principle of “ equal access of citizens to their right to healthcare; social protection and medical coverage,” reads the letter.

    It added: “The government should consider the United Nations High Level Meeting (HLM) conclusions held in 2021, on which a Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS seeking to end inequalities and getting on track to end AIDS by 2030 was adopted.

    “Social initiatives related to HIV treatments, including testing and prevention programs should be supported by the government as defined by the Joint United Nations Program on AIDS.”

    The association especially called on Morocco’s future government to expand and facilitate access to medical diagnosis for all citizens. They recommended increasing the number of diagnosis campaigns and reducing the high cost of medical examinations and analyses, which may reach approximately 60% of treatment expenses.

    Regarding the hepatitis epidemic, the association pointed out that public authorities have to give “a final approval of the national plan to combat hepatitis and allocate a budget for its work.”

    Around 21,000 adults are living with HIV in Morocco, according to 2018 statistics from the UN Programme for HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS). Worldwide, 36.7 million people continue to live with AIDS, yet 23 percent of people living with the disease do not have access to treatment.

    According to international standards, HIV testing is available mostly through public health facilities. Due to the stigma associated with the disease, however, most Arab countries, including Morocco, run community testing campaigns for key populations in locations where HIV risk is high.

    As for hepatitis, over 70 million people are infected with Hepatitis C across the world, including 10 million in Africa. Recently, Moroccan startup Moldiag launched the first Moroccan-made test for Hepatitis C.

    The rapid test mainly allows early detection of the disease and will protect a “large part of the population” in order to save patients’ lives before the onset of complications.

    As it shows signs of increasingly focusing on social reforms, the Moroccan government has consistently pledged in recent years and months to ensure healthcare and social security protections for all citizens.

    Under King Mohammed VI’s ambitious social security program, Morocco projects to achieve universal health care by 2025. According to current estimates, the completion of this bold plan will require an estimated MAD 51 billion ($5.7 billion), with MAD 23 billion ($2.6 billion) funded directly from the state budget.

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