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Prime Minister: Georgia will Succeed Eradicating Hepatitis C Entirely in 2020

“We will complete the effective introduction of strategy to fight against Hepatitis C in 2020 and Georgia may be the first country to succeed in eradicating the virus-born disease in terms of its elimination and full eradication” noted Mamuka Bakhtadze, Prime Minister of Georgia in his speech delivered at a key-note event marking the World Hepatitis Day (WHD).

In the opinion of the Head of the Government of Georgia, it is by no means an exaggeration that Hepatitis C is one of the most pressing challenges of the global community in the 21st century.

“Unfortunately, it is one of the key problems in Georgia too. Virus-born hepatitis in general is the type of disease, which requires greatest mobilization of resources to fight against it. Many countries succeeded in fighting against Hepatitis B. Medication was also available to effectively treat the disease. However, Hepatitis C turned out to be the disease, towards which many countries of the world failed in their efforts. Unfortunately, Georgia was among them. In 2012, when we came to power, individual was declared as our paramount priority. Our citizen and care towards humans has been our aim. First step that we made was to sharply increase the state budget earmarking for healthcare. Fight against Hepatitis C has of course been the most significant component and priority. Unfortunately, millions of people globally keep dying of Hepatitis C. It is one of the most pressing challenges faced by the mankind as evidenced in the research and studies commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO). Our steps were targeted at fighting this very pressing challenge and it may be said without any exaggeration that Georgia is a unique country both globally, as well as within the region, to succeed in coping with this challenge” stated the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Head of the Government of Georgia particularly thanked the US friends and Gilead Sciences Inc. who supported the country in making great strides and without which our efforts would have been impossible.

Prime Minister of Georgia stressed the very high commercial value of medication to treat Hepatitis C and noted that costs per patient would otherwise have been 80-90 000 USD.

“It means that only a few dozen of people in Georgia would afford to seek treatment with this very costly medication. With support of our US partners, we managed to make them accessible to anyone in the country. Government of Georgia endorsed the Strategy to Fight against Hepatitis C in 2016. It is predominantly aimed at the full eradication of the disease in Georgia. It is very important that preventive measures are taken to fight against Hepatitis C. Almost 50 000 people are admitted within the process of treatment. Screening is very significant component to make our efforts successful in fighting against the disease. Being frank and sincere with each other, we need to note that this disease sadly led to a certain stigma. We should be most mobilized in the society to make most people and ideally hundred per cent of the population undergo the screening process to enable us fight against this grave disease with greater effectiveness.

In 2020, when we complete the effective introduction of the strategy, Georgia may become the first country to succeed in full elimination and eradication of the virus-born disease. It will be a unique success story and we will thus give hope to other nations – no matter how complex the disease is – to pursue the right strategy, ensure full mobilization of the society to ultimately combat the disease” added the Prime Minister.

Head of the Government of Georgia expressed his gratitude to citizens engaged in the program, healthcare service beneficiary patients, who assist the authorities in better communicating the necessity and priority of the fight against the disease to the society. Prime Minister also particularly thanked every staff member of the Ministry of Health, Georgian doctors and medical community at large.

“I am confident that effective work of the Government and civil society groups, full mobilization of the population will ultimately lead to the achievement of the pre-defined goals and Hepatitis C will thus be fully eliminated in Georgia” concluded the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Key-note event marking the World Hepatitis Day (WHD) gathered the audience for the presentation of a Program for Elimination of Hepatitis C elaborating on the results and achievements within the 3 year span. According to the current indicators, almost 50 000 patients are admitted to the program, while 98.2% have already been cured.

WHD key-note event was attended by the members of the Cabinet of Ministers of Georgia, Health Committee of the Parliament of Georgia, cured patients, leading subject-matter professionals and international partners of the project.