Those infected with hepatitis in Bulgaria are over 800,000

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Those infected with hepatitis in Bulgaria are over 800,000
Those infected with hepatitis in Bulgaria are over 800,000

The Ministry of He alth, in the person of Minister Dr. Petar Moskov, and representatives of the non-governmental organization of Bulgarians with the hepatitis B and C virus "Hristo Geshov" engaged in screening actions for free examinations. One year ago, the foundation announced the launch of a national information campaign "Hepatitis near me" with the aim of making the public aware of the virus. More precisely, with the ways of infection, with the types of hepatitis, its consequences and ways of prevention.

As "Blitz" Agency has already informed, this year's National campaign started with a symbolic pouring of yellow paint in front of the Ministry of He alth, to show how easily any person can be infected with one or another form of this insidious disease. We remind you that Hristo Geshov, who is a chronic carrier of the hepatitis B virus with the complication of cirrhosis of the liver, "threw down the gauntlet" to the Minister of He alth through a video challenge. It was spread on one of the social networks and "caused" the meeting on January 12.

In his video address, Geshov disclosed data from an explanatory preventive campaign that volunteers conducted in 2014. It is clear from them that there are about 800,000 people infected with hepatitis in the country. The results turned out to be particularly alarming - out of a total of 1,800 examined, 25 percent were carriers of the virus without even suspecting it.

See what Hristo Geshov shared with a My Clinic reporter hours after the important meeting in question:

Hristo Geshov:

Hospitals drain the he alth fund through these patients

Hello Mr. Geshov. Minister Moskov responded to your video challenge. Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of the results of the meeting, please explain why a “challenge”?

- “Challenge” because two or three weeks before we released the video on the social network, I tried repeatedly to contact Minister Moskov. I texted him several times on the phone as well. But he neither picked up his phone nor responded to texts. Which is why I decided that such a challenge could happen precisely through social networks and video sharing sites. After all, we live in an information age and we often witness how politicians and ministers publicly talk through social networks. Minister Moskov responded, and shortly before our meeting we launched the Campaign for 2015 with a flash mod, on which many of our sympathizers and supporters symbolically covered themselves with yellow paint.

How did the meeting go? Are you satisfied with it?

- At the meeting with Minister Moskov, we discussed problems related to hepatitis patients. We discussed issues that cannot be delayed and need to be solved urgently. And one of the most important is precisely prevention to fight hepatitis. I assure you, no prevention funds are being released up to this point. We

we presented the minister with statistics,

we introduced him to how many billion leva the state gives for the treatment of chronic and viral hepatitis, and for the prevention of this same insidious disease - zero leva. We also informed the minister of another alarming fact - that through patients with chronic viral hepatitis, hospitals are draining the he alth fund.

In what sense?

- By renewing their treatment protocols. Every sick person, and there are many of them, at the age of six months stays in hospital for three days to renew the treatment protocol. Mr. Moskov made a commitment as early as February to abandon the previous methodology for issuing protocols for active treatment of chronic hepatitis. Until now, they have been issued for a period of six months, and from February-March this period will be extended to one calendar year. He also promised to review each patient's three-day hospital stay when it's time to renew the treatment protocol.

Speaking of prevention, did Minister Moskov make specific commitments?

- In fact, the most important thing we appealed for is for the state to really finally find a place in this campaign of ours and start investing funds in the prevention of hepatitis. As of today, the Ministry of He alth has officially supported this cause. Mr. Moskov accepted this mission of ours as his own. He committed the Ministry of He alth, during the period in which he is a minister, to fund every month screening campaigns for free examination for hepatitis.

What will these screening actions entail?

- The Minister of He alth has committed to providing the foundation with a mobile laboratory for volunteers to travel around the country and test for viral hepatitis for free within two months. Funds will be sought under European programs and for screening tests. Here is the place to point out that a hepatitis B and C screening kit costs only BGN 6, while the laboratory test costs about BGN 40.for a type of hepatitis. For now

we will do the street testing

People will find it easier and more convenient when they see a laboratory, be it in a market or a square, to stop for three minutes and examine themselves. In general, those with a positive screening result should be sent to the regional hospitals, where the examination is paid for through a clinical pathway.

Mr. Geshov, why do you think the institutions seem to have abdicated from all this so far?

- Maybe because until now there has not been a person to stand up and say - this problem exists. Unfortunately, in our country, things happen exactly this way. Most people are afraid to come out with their name and face and say - I am a carrier of this virus. I understand them for the simple reason that patients like me are actually discriminated against not only by employers but also by the whole society. In practice, in fact, within one calendar year, I proved that this discrimination can be overcome, and that when we have the cooperation of the media, for which I thank them.

And why does society accept people with purely he alth, medical problems in this way? What are they afraid of?

- Because people are not informed. A large part of them are not familiar with the consequences of the virus, what are the types of hepatitis. They are also not familiar with how the infection itself occurs. Unfortunately, the Bulgarian is not informed, he is not literate in this regard. For this reason, unfortunately, a huge part of the Bulgarian population, hearing about hepatitis, associates it with ordinary jaundice, which is transmitted by air-droplet route. Maybe that's one of the reasons why people react this way. And when they learn that most types of hepatitis are transmitted through blood and sex, they react a little differently. But there are already people who are in solidarity and support such an initiative. There will always be people who will continue to discriminate against patients with my diagnosis, but I think that with wider awareness among Bulgarians, this will change.