SOFIA, Bulgaria, July 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
The Bulgarian Health Minister together with the European Liver Patient Association (ELPA) will initiate on 5 July the development of a National Hepatitis Plan in the context of a roundtable discussion with international experts on viral hepatitis in the Bulgarian Parliament.
This roundtable marks the beginning of a series of actions to raise the visibility of viral Hepatitis worldwide with the main milestone of World Hepatitis Day taking place every 28th July.
Bulgarian Health Minister, Desislava Atanasova, says on the National Bulgarian Hepatitis Plan: "Despite being one of the poorest countries in the EU, Bulgaria will take on the challenge to develop and implement a National Hepatitis Plan".
The only other two regions in Europe that have developed and implemented a national hepatitis plan in Europe are Scotland and France.
Ms Atanasova outlined some of the elements the national plan will develop, among these, and "prevention and education for citizens and improving the access to screening and to treatment will receive greater attention".
ELPA's President Tatjana Reic, highlights the difficulties to diagnose viral hepatitis as this disease can be present for a long period asymptomatically: "It is difficult to have a fix picture of patients suffering from hepatitis in Bulgaria. The last official research dates back 15 years ago and ELPA estimates that there are over 500,000 people in Bulgaria affected by Hepatitis B and C."
The second part of the roundtable is dedicated to an exchange of best practice in Member States. Ms Reic explains: "the aim is to decrease the number of new infections and to improve the quality of life of patients suffering from Hepatitis B or C on a national level."
The roundtable will bring together experts from different organisations including the European Commission, ECDC, WHO the EASL, ELPA , experts from France and Scotland, EPF or WHA among others.
In support of this initiative, ELPA has commissioned Health Consumer Powerhouse (HCP) to develop a Euro Hepatitis Index ranking EU Member States (plus Norway, Croatia and Switzerland) according to their performance in Hepatitis B and C care. The index will be a powerful tool for improving the treatment of viral hepatitis related diseases and is expected to be launched in October 2012 in Brussels.
SOURCE European Liver Patients Association