Hepatitis C could be eradicated if more specialists were available in Latvia

Hepatitis C could be eradicated with existing funding and effective drugs if problematic access to specialists was resolved, said Kristaps Kaugurs, spokesman for the Hepatitis C Patients, in an interview on Latvian Television on July 23.

Kaugurs claimed that the success rate of the new drug was 100%, instead of the previous 50%. By 2020, Kaugurs hopes to have 2000 patients cured. A shortage of specialists, however, precludes the reaching of the goal set by the World Health Organization – 2500 patients. 

"There are new drugs, new treatments. But doctors and officials have failed to optimize the system so that more people could receive treatment,” said Kaugurs. The association, together with infectologists, have found ways to solve the problem.

The Infectologist Inga Ažiņā said that the number of infectologists in Latvia is small. The Association of Infectologists has 62 specialists, most of them based in and around Rīga. Other major Latvian cities each have one practicing infectologist. 

Ažiņa emphasized the need to train new specialists and also commented on “involving family doctors”. A discussion of how to solve this problem is scheduled for this week. 

Funding for the treatment of hepatitis C has been raised from 4 million euros in 2015 to 15 million in 2019.

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