Hepatitis screening facilities essential in all hospitals

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He shared that within Pakistan nearly 12 million people are suffering from Hepatitis B or C. Each year brings about 150,000 new cases.

The programme was launched on World Hepatitis Day with an aim to combat viral hepatitis and reduce mortality and morbidity associated with it, Union Health Minister J P Nadda said. 15%-20% of all chronic liver disease and hepatocellular cancer HCC in India are caused by HCV. There are 19 million people infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV), while 2.5 million are infected. While some types of hepatitis will pass without causing permanent damage to the liver, chronic cases can cause cirrhosis, liver failure or cancer.

"The elimination of viral hepatitis is an individual goal for millions of men, women and children across the world". In 2016 the theme was "Know Hepatitis- Act Now" and in 2017; "Eliminate Hepatitis".

"Viral hepatitis is one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for 1.34 million deaths per year, which is more than that caused by HIV/AIDS, malaria or tuberculosis". It would not, therefore, be an exaggeration to say that Hepatitis B and C patients from low-income groups are left in the lurch because of the exorbitant costs of the treatment. Many baby boomers have been living with the infection for years without knowing it.

"Hepatitis is a viral disease that affects the liver, it is simply an inflammatory of the liver (acute and chronic). Treatment is available both for Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B. All you have to remember is not to wait for the symptoms to occur - go and have yourselves screened and if you find that these tests are positive, see an expert doctor".

Free hepatitis testing in downtown PG
Around 80% of people don't realise hepatitis C can lead to cancer

WITH 10 million Hepatitis B and C patients and working youths being at higher risk of hepatitis infection, there are reasons to treat this life-threatening disease as a major threat to public health. As per World Health Organisation (WHO), around 6 to 12 million people in India are infected with chronic Hepatitis C. Since hepatitis is asymptomatic, it is estimated that only 5% of the people with chronic hepatitis know of their infection, and less than 1% have access to treatment.

In line with World Hepatitis Day today, July 28, ALCS pointed out the importance of raising awareness of the disease and called on citizens to watch out for symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, vomiting, decreased appetite, dark urine, and jaundice.

There was an extensive panel discussion session on blood safety and hepatitis spread. Flanigan said the most important thing local health workers can do is "help people who use drugs gradually improve their situations in a realistic way".

Hepatitis B and C are transmitted by infected blood or blood products, non-disposable needles and syringes, reused inadequately sterilised catheters and equipment, tattooing, ear-piercing, sharing of blades and razors etc. I was cured because of medical advances and was not facing the same future when first diagnosed.

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