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World day of fight against hepatitis in the Knesset

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Thousands of Israelis, hepatitis C patients had not received treatment because of budget problems. Julio Burman, CEO amooti «Arrow», the Israeli national Alliance for hepatitis, said: «patients with hepatitis in Israel are still not receiving proper medical care because some medications and treatments are still not included in the «basket of health» and the list of government subsidized drugs. They also do not receive treatment, despite the fact that they had diagnosed hepatitis. We insist on the immediate beginning of treatment, those who have found the hepatitis b virus – we are talking about the disease, the development of which leads to dysfunction and liver cancer, which, if timely treatment can be completely prevented by already existing drugs.»

It is supported by Knesset member Yoel Razvozov, the initiator of the world Day against hepatitis, which will be held on July 25: «New immigrants from different countries are considered at risk when it comes to this disease such as hepatitis. However, they are often unaware of their illness. The Ministry of health and the health insurance Fund do not warn and do not check these groups, which leads to the fact that the carriers of the hepatitis b virus and patients are being ignored. Time is not detected and stopped the disease has been steadily growing and, in the end, leads to tragic results. The situation in which the system knows about the danger to health of citizens, but does not warn them and not engaged in treatment – intolerant».

Today in Israel the diagnosis of hepatitis C (infectious liver disease) is supplied 30.000 patients, but only 10% of them received appropriate medical care. One of the problems is that some patients who have hepatitis C was diagnosed a few years ago, still do not receive any treatment because at the time of diagnosis, new drugs have not yet been included in the «Basket of health» – the corresponding decree of the Ministry of health adopted about two years ago.

Simultaneously, those patients whose disease is at an early stage, do not receive medicines, is included in the «basket of drugs», due to their high cost.

Professor Eli Zuckerman, head of the division of liver diseases at the medical center of Carmel and the Chairman of the Israeli center for the study of liver, said: «it Should be noted that, starting in 2015, in Israel there has been a significant breakthrough in the treatment of patients with hepatitis C
thanks to the cooperation of the Ministry of health with the Israeli center for the study of the liver and amateu «Arrow».

It is necessary to conduct tests for the detection of the virus in certain population groups, at risk, complete the assessment of those patients who are already diagnosed with hepatitis b and provide appropriate treatment and medicines, is included in the basket of drugs, those patients, whose illness is still in the early stages».

Julio Burman, CEO amooti «Arrow» adds: «Despite a breakthrough in the treatment of the disease, a large proportion of patients still do not receive the necessary care. Only recently the government began to guide the treatment of patients, the diagnosis of which is already known.

But we are talking about a small number of patients, and those who do not receive timely treatment, waiting can be fatal. In Israel, about 100,000 carriers of hepatitis b virus, but they do not know about. Two years ago the Ministry of health adopted the national programme of inspection of the population at risk, but this program still does not apply practically».

Professor Ziv Ben-Ari, head of the center for liver diseases at Sheba hospital – tel Hashomer and Chairman of amuta «Arrow»: «New medicines, is included in the «basket of drugs» for the treatment of hepatitis – this is a breakthrough in pharmacology and public health. These medications are targeted against specific types and subtypes of hepatitis, and are suited to different groups of patients.

It should be added that treatment with these drugs takes much less time than previous methods, and their effectiveness is extremely high for 90-100 % of patients recover. New treatment methods will lead to the fact that both in Israel and in the world hepatitis C virus is totally eradicated. The government and the Ministry of health are required to complete the process of providing the new treatment to all patients».

Recall that the **World Hepatitis Day – world Day to combat hepatitis – is held annually in many countries around the world. Its aim is to raise awareness about the disease, methods of its spread, the complications caused by hepatitis, and to support the prevention of disease.

In the framework of the world day against hepatitis (World Hepatitis, celebrated annually on 28 July, people from different countries together and share information about the disease and methods of combating hepatitis.

World Day to combat hepatitis noted in the Knesset for the third consecutive year – this year it will be held on July 25, the birthday of Professor Baruch Blumberg, who received the Nobel prize for his work on the discovery of the hepatitis b virus.

Viral hepatitis every year it kills 1.34 million people – as many people die from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. The viruses hepatitis b and hepatitis C are the cause of 80% of liver cancer cases worldwide. This is truly a global epidemic affecting millions of people. According to who, 90% of people with hepatitis b and 80% of people with hepatitis C are unaware of their disease.

In Israel, the carriers of this virus are about 100,000 people, and the diagnosis is only 30%.

Once infected with the virus in approximately 75-80% of carriers develop chronic liver disease, 20% of them in 20-30 years will develop cirrhosis and 1%-4% of patients with cirrhosis will get sick of a primary cancer of the liver. The liver continues to function for many years, despite his illness, thanks to the huge reserves (liver weight) and the ability to regenerate. But cirrhosis developed as a result of hepatitis C can lead to liver failure and require liver transplantation.

In Israel there are three main groups of risk:
people who had done a blood transfusion before 1992;
people who are already non-sterile and disposable needles (for example, by piercing, tattoos or injections), as well as immigrants from countries of the former USSR and the CIS.

In the early stages of the disease hepatitis C are asymptomatic, so the only way to diagnose the presence of virus – a simple blood test. Experts recommend that people belonging to the main groups at risk, contact your family doctor and ask for analysis.

Recently, for the treatment of hepatitis C have been developed and new antiviral drugs class Direct Acting Antiviral Agents (DAAs). These drugs significantly increase the chances of a full recovery and have many advantages: they are taken orally and act on all of the six genotypes of the virus, resulting in recovery of approximately 95% of patients.

They have almost no side effects and allow you to lead a normal way of life, and the course of treatment with these drugs is short: it takes no more than 12 weeks.

New drugs against hepatitis C virus are a historic breakthrough in the medical world. The state Commission in 2015-2016, took the unprecedented decision to bring them a basket of drugs, but permission to use these drugs initially is given only to those patients who are in an advanced stage of the disease, from which a large part of the liver tissue – scar.

Scar tissue of the liver is considered by a four-digit scale: 0 — no scar tissue 4 – all cicatricial tissue, which means cirrhosis. Because of the high cost of new drugs in the public basket of drugs, provided treatment with new drugs only those patients in whom fibrosis is 3-4 points on the so-called «scar» scale.

In conclusion, we can say that a breakthrough in medicine and the introduction of new drugs to treat chronic infection of hepatitis C virus significantly increases the chances of a full recovery from the virus. It is necessary to conduct diagnosis among key populations and to make available an antiviral treatment for all patients with this virus in the country.

General information center of the Association «Arrow» on the phone — 03-6939333

Additional information on the sites:
The website of the Association «Arrow» in the fight against hepatitis in Israel

Materials provided by the PR Agency of Sophia, Himelstein

World day of fight against hepatitis in the Knesset

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