Development of Program on Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of Hepatitis C

25 Feb, 2013

Hepatitis C is one of the most common diseases in Georgia. Although a unified database and exact statistics on the disease are lacking, the results of the research, carried out in 2008, revealed that around 200 000 people were infected with Hepatitis C in Georgia (6.7% of adult population); (L. Sharvadze and coauthors. 2008).

Due to high treatment costs, insurance companies do not provide coverage for diagnosis and treatment of Hepatitis C. And, despite the fact, that the disease represents a serious public health problem, no state programs against the infection exist at this point. Hepatitis C poses severe problems in correctional facilities, as indicated by decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, imposing an obligation on the government of Georgia to ensure treatment of those suffering from the disease in penal institutions.

On February 22, 2013, at the Open Society -Georgia Foundation office, Mr. Sozar Subari, Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance of Georgia and Ms. Ketevan Khutsishvili, Executive Director of the Foundation made a joint statement on development of a program on  prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Hepatitis C in the penitentiary system.

In accordance to the strategy of 2013, treatment accessibility represents one of the main priorities of the Ministry. Therefore, the issue of necessity for development of state program on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Hepatitis C was brought to an agenda, along with the need to form of a working group which will develop the above program document.

For that purpose, three experts, selected on the basis of the competition announced by the Open Society -Georgia Foundation, are expected to begin their work on development of the program document at the end of March.

The program document will determine number of inmates who will receive treatment during the year, criteria of selection of patients, the scheme of treatment and required financial resources.

The document, developed by the experts, will be first reviewed by NGOs working on the issues of public health and other experts, and then it will be presented to the Government and donor organizations.

For more details on the competition please see About the Competition