The Association of Patients with Hepatic Diseases in Romania (APAH-RO) analyzed the behavior of Romanians on liver disease in an opinion poll conducted by the CURS between October and November 2018 with national representativeness.
According to the data, about 70% (69%) of respondents reported that they had never been tested to find out if they were infected with hepatitis C. Only 6% said they had done such a test in the past year. This despite the fact that over 90% of Romanians are aware of the severity of hepatitis C.
"Health is a responsibility in itself. We need to be more focused on prevention and testing to ensure we are not a carrier of infectious diseases. For hepatitis, this year, for insured, testing can be done free of charge through family doctors. Hepatitis C is also a free interferon program that can be reached by those diagnosed who begin with the first degree of fibrosis, said Marinela Debu, president of APAH-RO.
The interferon-free program for patients with hepatitis C, performed by the Ministry of Health by CNAS, has already entered the third year, but 72% of the Romanian population does not know that treatment is available. Under these conditions, 57% of those diagnosed with hepatitis C followed this type of treatment without interferon and 36% with interferon, the remaining 7% said they had no treatment.
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A lack of information also shows that more than half of respondents are not aware that every insured person this year is entitled to be tested free of charge (analysis of hepatitis B and C virus markers) with reference from the family supervisor.
"In Romania, approximately 600,000 chronic hepatitis C chromosomes live and about 800,000 have chronic hepatitis B. In order to align with WHO's goal of eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030, we need to review key stages of prevention and diagnosis. Medical controls should not be considered a last resort when we feel bad but should be an annual routine to prevent complications that may affect our lives in the medium and long term," said Marinela Debu, president of APAH-RO.
Most Romans nominate cancer and cirrhosis as complications from liver disease, but unfortunately 44% of respondents say they do not know how to prevent the development of liver disease. It is worth mentioning that in terms of information, residents of Bucharest are the best, with 80% of the population who have knowledge of prevention methods.
The lack of information also generates a change in behavior, and a quarter of Romans acknowledge that they would change their attitude if they find that a close person has hepatitis and should not interact with it. In fact, among patients with hepatitis, one-third confirms that he has encountered problems at the workplace.
APAH-RO encourages Romans to go to the family doctor and ask for reference for virus markers. Hepatitis is an infectious disease, often asymptomatic, which generates major hazards as affected persons can transmit the virus at any time. At the same time, by implementing only the concept "test & treat", the results will be seen in the shortest possible time, both in medical and economic terms. A detected patient needs to automatically receive the necessary treatment, otherwise he continues to be a risk factor for the entire community.
People diagnosed with hepatitis C need to know that since September this year, a new agreement on the cost of the interferon-free program has entered into force and according to the new regulations, patients who start with the first degree of fibrous have access to treatment. In addition, doctors in their settlement systems have all innovative therapies available in the Romanian market, so that the treatment of each patient is as personal as possible.
Testing and treatment should be Romania's goal of eliminating hepatitis. In this regard, APAH-RO will continue and intensify the number of test campaigns in the coming period. This year, the association tested more than 1000 people, especially from poor populations across the country.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), viral hepatitis B and C constitute major challenges affecting 325 million people. These diseases cause liver cancer and cause 1.34 million deaths annually because at least 60% of liver cancer fall is based on late testing, ie. access to treatment for hepatitis B and C in advanced stages of the disease, according to a STIRIPESURSE statement .us.
APAH-EN is a non-governmental unit established in 2009 at the initiative of a group of patients across the country. With the slogan "For Your Rights!", The organization is a campaign to increase screening and access to treatment. The organization advocates increased access to treatment for patients with liver disease by providing information and support for patients with liver disease, family members, awareness raising about the importance of early detection of chronic viral hepatitis and the importance of treatment done on time, strictly taking into account doctors recommendations. www.hepato.ro