At the Media Center hosted press conference entitled ‘The Struggle against Hepatitis in Armenia: Issues and Solutions’ thoughts and opinions were shared by experts, representatives of NGOs and journalists.
The speakers included: hepatitis carriers Artur Manvelyan and Torgom Badalyan, Hasmik Ghazinyan, Head of Hepatology Department at ‘Nork’ Medical Center and Head of the Armenian Hepatological Forum; and Anahit Harutyunyan, head of ‘Positive People Armenian Network’ NGO.
Hasmik Ghazinyan noted that 3-4 % of the Armenian population is infected with hepatitis C, with the present numbers of hepatitis carriers to be doubled within coming 10 years which is to be faced by the whole world in general.
With 2-3% Armenia ranks among countries with middle level prevalence of hepatitis, Hasmik Ghazinyan stated. However, it is planned to conduct a screening to determine the new position of Armenia.
The speakers emphasized the need for both struggling against and preventing the virus. Therefore, it is of primary importance to raise public awareness to use the necessary preventive medicine.
On the other hand, the responsible authorities of the health sector are to actively collaborate with non- governmental organizations.
The press conference was held parallelly with the rally near the Ministry of Health during which representatives of several non-governmental organizations submitted a proposal letter to the Ministry of Health. Though another proposal letter was filed to the above-mentioned ministry, it was left unanswered. The representatives of non-governmental organizations hope that the new letter will be promptly responded, as a start of collaboration between authorities and non-governmental organizations.
Anahit Harutyunyan said that the organization she represents is struggling for the availability of hepatitis treatment, adding that it turns out to be the first real act of cooperation with the state sector.
Hepatitis carrier Artur Manvelyan mentioned that the whole course of hepatitis treatment in Armenia costs USD 15-16.000 which is unaffordable for him.
Journalist Arpi Beglaryan stated that doctors and manicurists refuse to work with hepatitis carriers. The journalist also added that the whole course of tests may amount to AMD 220.000.