KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — It is estimated that more than 400,000 Malaysians currently suffer from Hepatitis C, which is a cause for concern, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.
He said most of them were not aware that they suffered from Hepatitis C because they lacked knowledge on the disease and needed to undergo health screening.
“The government is collaborating with international agencies to create a new formula that can reduce the cost of Hepatitis C treatment.
“Now the cost is RM30,000 to RM40,000 per person for 12 weeks treatment, and we hope to bring it down to RM1,000. If we do that, it is a major success, we are in the process and we hope by one or three years’ time, we’ll make that available,” he told reporters after officiating the four-day 12th Liver Update seminar, organised by the Malaysian Liver Foundation (MLF), which began yesterday here.
He said another liver related illness caused by an individual’s lifestyle is fatty liver.
“The disease has shown a drastic increase (in the number of cases) globally as well as in our country due to lifestyle, namely obesity, cholesterol, high lipid content in the blood and office-bound workers who do not require any fitness exposure,” he said.
Dr Subramaniam said there are certain cases that could turn more serious and required liver transplant.
Meanwhile MLF president Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said the level of awareness on the risk of liver related illness was still lacking among Malaysians.
“You would not know you have it (hepatitis). They may not have any symptoms, this is the problem. It is a silent killer. Everyone is at risk. Go for a blood check for early detection of Hepatitis B and C and change your lifestyle to avoid fatty liver disease,” he added. — Bernama