13:12 28.07.2020

Ministry of Health to include diagnostics of viral hepatitis in Medical Guarantee Program

3 min read

KYIV. July 28 (Interfax-Ukraine) –The Ministry of Health works to include diagnostics of viral hepatitis in the Medical Guarantee Program, Deputy Minister of Health, Chief State Sanitary Doctor Viktor Liashko said at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine on Tuesday.

"Testing for hepatitis B with rapid tests is included in PMG and it is stipulated that a family doctor is obliged to conduct rapid tests for viral hepatitis B and C. With regard to diagnostics, the Ministry of Health is currently working on including viral diagnostics of hepatitis into PMG for 2020 as a separate package," he said.

"We want a separate diagnostic package to include diagnostics and determination of genotypes of viral hepatitis C. Currently, new treatment regimens are emerging, where drugs acting on all genotypes are used. treatment of all six genotypes of viral hepatitis C. Determination of the genotype is not a cheap procedure, therefore it is necessary that the issue should be taken together - from a quick test to diagnostics of genotype determination and treatment prescription - all this should be covered by the state budget within the framework of the medical guarantee program," added Liashko.

The Deputy Minister said that the Global Strategy for Elimination of Viral Hepatitis is currently being implemented in Ukraine.

"In November 2019, Ukraine joined the Global Strategy for Elimination of Viral Hepatitis. It was then that the state strategy for counteracting HIV infection, AIDS, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis until 2030 was approved. The goal of this strategy is to prevent 90% of new infections with viral hepatitis, diagnosing 90% of viral hepatitis, as well as the provision of treatment for 90% of patients with viral hepatitis B and C. We understand that if the strategy for eliminating viral hepatitis is implemented, healthcare costs will increase by 1.5%, but these costs will reduce mortality from viral hepatitis by 2030 by 5%, as well as increase the life expectancy of Ukrainians by at least 10%," Liashko said.

The Deputy Minister also stressed that in 2020, about 50,000 courses of medicines for the treatment of viral hepatitis C will be delivered to Ukraine in total. Compared to 2019, there were 9,000 such courses, in 2018 - 1,800 courses.

At the same time, according to Liashko, the rate of immunization against hepatitis B decreased by 5%.

"Analysis of vaccination coverage rates showed a moderate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on routine vaccination coverage in Ukraine. In particular, the annual immunization coverage rate decreased by an average of 5%. The lowest vaccination coverage against hepatitis B is in Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Chernivtsi regions," he said.

In turn, Acting Director General of the Public Health Centre Ihor Kuzin reported that currently in Ukraine 6.5% of people with hepatitis C of the estimated number are under medical supervision.

Kuzin said that as a part of implementation of the elimination strategy for Ukraine, a scenario for viral hepatitis B and C elimination was developed. The scenario determines how many people should undergo treatment annually in order to overcome the problem of viral hepatitis by 2030.

At the same time President of the All-Ukrainian Council for the Protection of Patients' Rights and Safety Viktor Serdyuk, said that the number of patients with viral hepatitis in Ukraine is much higher than the estimated one and can reach 2 million.

"We are talking about a larger number of patients. 1.3 million patients in Ukraine are estimated by the WHO, according to our research, their number ranges from 6.5% to 9% of the population," he said.