For the 5th year in a row, Ukraine conducted a national rapid Hepatitis C testing across various cities in Ukraine. The results show a need to develop an effective way to fight the disease, as Ukraine will take part in the WHO elimination plan.
Kyiv, August 10, 2016. A national rapid Hepatitis C testing showed that 8.5%, or 324 cases, of the 3,844 that got tested, have antibodies to the Hepatitis C virus. Pavlo Skala, policy & partnership director, Public Health Alliance, reported this at a press briefing held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. The testing was conducted in 26 cities in various regions of Ukraine, except for the temporarily occupied Crimea and some territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Public Health Alliance has been conducting Hepatitis C testing for the 5th year before World Hepatitis Day (July 28). During the previous years, the total population of Ukraine got tested; however, the concept changed slightly last year. “We made an exception and tested servicemen, National Guard fighters, and ATO members. Altogether, we tested 4.5 thousand people in this category. The result was good – 4% of positive results,” said Pavlo Skala.
The 8.5 percentage of positive results is a high and disappointing figure. This shows how serious the threat is and that we should find effective ways to fight it. “The most alarming results were in Kyiv, in the Khmelnytsky, Zaporizhia and Dnipropetrovsk regions. The least number of tests were conducted in Kherson region, 80, and the most, 225, in Volyn region. In Kyiv, it was above average with 198 tests performed. On average, 150 tests were conducted in all regions,” detailed Pavlo Skala.
Olga Golubovska, PhD in medicine, professor, chief non-staff infectious diseases specialist at the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, head of Infectious Diseases Chair at Bogomolets National Medical University, explained that “not all infected people have chronic forms of the disease, although 85% of cases lead to chronic forms “. The expert noted that at least 90, 000 people require treatment in Ukraine today, though we still do not know the exact number of patients because of the low level of initial diagnosis. “Ukraine will be involved in the implementation of the World Health Organization (WHO) elimination plan, which was adopted on May 31 this year,” added Olga Golubovska.
Rapid testing took place in central streets, parks and squares. Positive results were shown by people of different ages. The majority have never got tested for the Hepatitis C virus, 85 to 98% depending on the city.
Since 2012, the Alliance conducted more than 119 thousand tests among the most vulnerable groups, mainly drug users. Over 5 years of nationwide campaigns, more than 13,500 Ukrainians got tested and the percentage of positive results continuously varies between 8-12%.