A 60-year old man surnamed Chuang who was first diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1992 finally became disease-free last year after being approved for treatment under the National Health Insurance Plan.
Due to economic circumstance, the man was unable to seek treatment during the past 25 years.
Yang Pei-ming, a physician heading the Liver Disease Prevention & Treatment Research Foundation, said that carriers of the hepatitis B and C viruses are most at risk, as they are more likely to contract hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer.
To combat this issue, the foundation has increased outreach, patient tracking and health education efforts in rural areas with high contraction rates such as Yunlin County and Chiayi County.
Chen Ying-ru, a physician overseeing Chuang’s treatment, said that she had to inform the patient that he was eligible for government subsidized treatment.
Chuang, who works as a janitor, has always thought that he was unable to afford treatment, according to Chen.
Chuang was cured after undergoing a three-month regimen of hepatitis C drugs covered by National Health Insurance Plan in June last year.
“People with low income already have trouble feeding themselves, staying in good health often takes second place against other necessities.” Chuang said, while thanking Chen for encouraging him to seek treatment.
Chen also urged patients to seek treatment early in their disease progression to ensure a full recovery.
【2019-4-11 / United Daily News】