New Hepatitis C centre to serve Georgians and Abkhazians

New Hepatitis C management centre in Zugdidi, western Georgia. Photo: PM's press office., 22 Mar 2017 - 14:06, Tbilisi,Georgia

A new modern centre for Hepatitis C management has opened in the town of Zugdidi in Georgia’s western Samegrelo region today.

The centre was opened by Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Health Minister David Sergeenko and United States Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly.

Opening a new Hepatitis C centre in Zugdidi, Georgia. Photo: PM's press office.

Locals will be able to receive all services relating to Hepatitis C, including screening, diagnosis, consultation, registration and getting medicine through a single-window principle at the new centre.

Zugdidi is located close to Georgia’s Russian-occupied Abkhazia region; Kvirikashvili said the new centre and its services will be available to Abkhazians as well.

In partnership with the American company Gilead, Georgia launched a large-scale Hepatitis C Elimination Program in 2015. The program aims to make Georgia a Hepatitis C-free country by 2020.

"About 35,000 people have undergone treatment within the Hepatitis C program. Of these, 25,000 patients have already completed the treatment and we have a 98 percent cure rate, which is a very positive result”, Kvirikashvili said at the opening ceremony in Zugdidi.

He also stressed the importance for the centre to serve those living in the occupied area too.

The first Hepatitis C Management Centre opened in the capital of Tbilisi last summer. Zugdidi centre will be the second of its kind, but it is significantly larger than the Tbilisi centre.

Authorities said Zugdidi was selected as the location for the second centre due to the high rate of the virus in the region.