Ministry of Health of Ukraine launches a series of public consultations on Draft Strategy for Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis B and C to reach elimination by 2030
The National Strategy is aimed at significantly reducing morbidity and mortality from viral hepatitis B and C during the 2019-2030 period.
The National Strategy for the Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis B and C to reach elimination by 2030 envisages the following targets:
- increasing the coverage of hepatitis B vaccination (a three-dose hepatitis B vaccine for infants);
- preventing mother-to-child transmission of HBV: a birth-dose of hepatitis B vaccine and other approaches, such as routine testing of pregnant women and the administration of antivirals to pregnant women with hepatitis B;
- ensuring blood/blood products, injection and surgical safety;
- implementing harm reduction programs (providing sterile injecting equipment – sterile syringe/needle sets – and effective treatment to people dependent on opioids who inject drugs);
- improving access to testing and treatment of viral hepatitis B and C, using advanced diagnostic procedures and highly effective medicines.
The draft Strategy is available in Ukrainian: http://moz.gov.ua/article/public-discussions/proekt-strategii-profilaktiki-diagnostiki-ta-likuvannja-virusnih-gepatitiv-v-ta-s-do-2030-roku
The implementation of the Strategy will allow preventing new HBV and HCV infections by 2030, reducing the incidence of hepatitis B and C in Ukraine, as well as the incidence of disability and mortality from hepatitis comorbidities and coinfections.
Viral hepatitis is one of the world's greatest public health challenges. In 2017, there were more than 20 000 HBV patients and more than 52 000 HCV patients officially registered in Ukraine. However, according to expert estimates, the hepatitis prevalence in Ukraine is much higher, since many people infected with the hepatitis virus do not develop symptoms for years and are unaware they have the infection. In this context, effective prevention measures, timely diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis are extremely important.
In 2018, Ukraine will provide an effective treatment free of charge to all HCV patients who need it the most, which means that almost 6 000 people will be cured of HCV. Next year, all Ukrainians with hepatitis C in the queue for treatment will receive highly effective medicines. This was achieved through the development of an effective international procurement system – Ukraine procures the innovative HCV medicines at a very low price.