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Hepatitis C Program to expand

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, May 26
The government of Georgia will expand its Hepatitis C Elimination program, which means that locals residing in the occupied territories of Georgia, who have neutral identity documents or neutral travel documents, will be involved in the hepatitis C program for free.

Davit Sergeenko, the Minister of Labor, Health and Social Affairs, stated that a memorandum of cooperation was signed between the Ministry and the pharmaceutical company Gilead, which envisages the expansion of the program, and it will now cover beneficiaries from the occupied regions as well.

“Around 38,000 beneficiaries are registered in the hepatitis C program; 37,500 of them were involved in the treatment, and more than 29,000 of them completed the treatment course. The cure rate is 98%,” Sergeenko said at a governmental session on Thursday.

The health project - Georgia Without Hepatitis C - was launched in Georgia in April 2015, when the government of Georgia and an American biotechnology company, Gilead, signed a memorandum of understanding.

The project helps to reduce and prevent cases of Hepatitis C in Georgia. The main goal of the project is to stop the disease from being highly contagious.

During the first stage, sofosbuvir was used as the primary medicine. However, for the second stage, Havron was added to the treatment course, a newer medicine which is believed to cure 95% of Hepatitis C patients.

The average index of Hepatitis C in Georgia is 7.7, which is in the top five countries in the world with the highest rate of the decease.

In May 2016, at the World Health Assembly, the governments of 194 countries adopted the first strategy of the viral hepatitis and developed the first global goals.

One of the goals of the strategy is the treatment of 8 million people with hepatitis B and C by 2020, and the long-term goal is a 90% reduction of new infections and a 65% reduction of viral hepatitis mortality by 2030.

The Hepatitis C Elimination Program in Georgia is unique, as it is free and available for all infected citizens of the country.