0627 GMT March 22, 2019
Controlling and eradicating hepatitis B and C diseases is among the most important plans devised by the Health Ministry, said deputy health minister for research and technology.
Reza Malekzadeh told Iran Daily that the effective, simple and cheap treatment for the disease is available in the country, adding full insurance coverage has been provided to patients with such ailments.
He said presently 1.5 million and 350,000 Iranian people are transmitters of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C viruses respectively, most of whom are unaware that they are living with the virus.
“About 10 percent of the patients have been diagnosed and have undergone treatment”, he said.
Malekzadeh said a large number of those transmitting hepatitis virus feel no symptom about 20 to 30 years after catching the disease.
The official said the Hepatitis B vaccination program — implemented nationwide in the year to March 1992 — helped reduce the number of patients suffering from disease from two million to 1.5 million.
Malekzadeh said blood donation is the simplest way to identify the disease, pointing out that Iran Blood Transfusion Organization checks bloods for hepatitis B and C which causes the virus transmitter to become aware of their diseases.
“A simple blood test can be done to help diagnose hepatitis,” he noted.
The deputy health minister said that prisoners, drug addicts, patients suffering from hemophilia and thalassemia, those tattooing or undergoing phlebotomy procedures in unsanitary condition are more vulnerable to the disease.
He recommended those working with tools having sharp ends to be careful not to damage their hands or other parts of their body.
Malekzadeh said patients diagnosed with Hepatitis C, who take a pill for one to six months, will be treated completely.
“Effective medicines are being produced domestically for patients with Hepatitis B which help make the virus inactive and intransmissible”, he said, reiterating that the drug should be taken for several years to help control the ailment.
He said more than 5,000 people die from alcoholic liver disease in the country annually, of whom 64 percent and 22 percent are younger than 70 and 50 years respectively.
“It shows that any failure to treat the middle aged patients suffering from the ailment would help increase their risk for death,” he concluded.