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Speeches and Remarks

Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Hans Klemm at the Opening of Hepatitis C Conference

July 27, 2016
Ambassador Hans Klemm delivers remarks at the opening of the Hepatitis C conference. Bucharest, July 27, 2016 (Lucian Crusoveanu / Public Diplomacy Office)

Ambassador Hans Klemm delivers remarks at the opening of the Hepatitis C conference. Bucharest, July 27, 2016 (Lucian Crusoveanu / Public Diplomacy Office)

Good morning ladies and gentlemen!

Thank you for coming to the Embassy this morning to help jointly work on something very important, that is to improve health outcomes in Romania. What we intend to do today is to discuss how we can raise the public awareness of the dangers of hepatitis C and mark the international World Hepatitis Day.

Together with the Renașterea Foundation, we have invited you today to hear about the dangers and prevalence of hepatitis C in Romania, as well as the resources available for Romanian families to receive testing against hepatitis C.

Romania unfortunately has one of the highest hepatitis C virus (HCV) prevalence rates in Europe, some 3.23 percent of Romanians are unfortunately victims to this disease. Although this is only an estimate because of the lack of testing, but nevertheless we estimate between 500,000 and 600,000 Romanians to be chronically ill from hepatitis C.

The Ministry of Health named hepatitis a national public health priority. The Ministry also authorized new revolutionary interferon-free therapies and registered them on the Romanian market.

I am happy to hear now, after only one year, that almost 5,000 patients have entered into treatment with innovative hepatitis C therapy and the results are truly remarkable.

For example, the most recent data from just last month indicate that of the almost 1,877 patients who have completed the entire treatment, 100 percent tested negative for the virus. The final tests three months after they have finished the treatment showed a 99.3 percent cure rate. These data truly are extraordinary.

It was the research of several U.S. pharmaceutical companies that resulted in this new cure for hepatitis C. The United States takes great pride that our scientific and medical research is able to generate innovative therapies that can change lives truly and fundamentally. People throughout the world, including here in Romania, can now free themselves of hepatitis C, resume everyday activities, return to work, and live better and longer lives. The results from just one year of the program in Romania show the impact that these innovative therapies can have on Romanian citizens.

You today will have the opportunity to hear from the Renașterea Foundation about their national awareness campaign called “STOP Hepatita (Stop Hepatitis).” It is one of the most successful health-related campaigns in Romania.

Thank you again for joining us for what I know will be an informative and productive event. Working together, we can all make a difference to reduce and treat hepatitis C in Romania.