A Free Hepatitis C Research Campaign Starts Tomorrow

A "Let's find the missing 69,000" campaign which aims to detect hepatitis C infected patients starts. Free examinations will be provided within the framework of the initiative, which will start tomorrow and will continue until the end of August. The campaign targets people between 34 and 69 years of age. The research will be carried out at the St. Ivan Rilski Hospital in Sofia every working day from 8.00 to 14.00.

According to official data, nearly 77,000 Bulgarians are infected with hepatitis C, but 90% of them - 69,000, do not suspect that they carry the disease virus, the specialists from the hospital said.

"Our goal is to find the infected, especially in risk groups - drug addicts, prisoners, hemodialysis patients," said Prof. Krasimir Antonov, a gastroenterologist at the hospital. The hepatitis B and C treatment is paid by the NHIF for health-insured patients, but there are discussions about the treatment of uninsured people, said Dr. Tonka Varleva, director of the Prevention and Prevention Directorate at the Ministry of Health. According to her, by the end of July a draft National Plan for the Prevention and Control of the Five Types of Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. will be elaborated.

Around 1,200 hepatitis C patients are treated with the latest therapy, which is fully paid by NHIF, Elena Toteva from the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) said. She also noted that the Fund pays about BGN 50 mln a year for therapy. In the next year, NHIF is expected to pay for hepatitis C patients who have not responded to the therapy, she added.

Doctors and patients propose the hepatitis C study to be included in the national hepatitis C prevention plan and to be included in the complete blood count (CBC)t in the prophylactic package.


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