ULAN BATOR, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Mongolian citizens aged between 16 and 39 can be tested for hepatitis B and C virus free of charge this year, a local health official said Friday.
Cancer specialist of the Ulan Bator City Health Department L. Battsetseg said that the second phase of the "Whole-Liver Mongolia" national program, aimed at improving knowledge about hepatitis infections, early detection of infections and cancer, and eliminating factors that lead to hepatitis infections in the future, will kick off next month.
Under the initial phase of the program, people aged 40-65 were tested for hepatitis B and C virus for free last year.
According to the World Health Organization, Mongolia has the world's highest rate of liver cancer, as well as the highest mortality rate from the disease.
Cirrhosis and liver cancer caused by hepatitis B and C are the No. 2 killers among the Mongolian people, after heart and coronary diseases.
Thus, the government of Mongolia approved the program on April 12 last year to eradicate hepatitis B and C by 2020.
As for the total cost of the program, 226 billion Mongolia Tughrik (94.3 million U.S. dollars) or 24 percent will be funded by the state budget, 68 percent by the Health Insurance Fund and 8 percent by other financial sources.
Currently, some 400,000 Mongolian citizens are diagnosed with hepatitis B or C infections.