World Hepatitis Day Observed

Minister of Health & Family Welfare, S. Pangnyu Phom gracing the occasion of World Hepatitis Day 2019 cum Roll out of Hepatitis C treatment at NHAK on 26th July said that, this Viral Hepatitis is now being recognized as a major public health problem in India and marks the beginning of India’s initiative towards eliminating the diseases as a public health threat.

He stated that under the ambit of the National Health Mission (NHM) it will make all efforts to expand the reach and coverage of testing and management till the most peripheral level. Our state has successfully demonstrated their dedication in Reproductive and Child Health and Communicable Diseases which has resulted in positive outcomes and now need to replicate such attention to address viral Hepatitis.

National Viral Hepatitis Control Program under the National Health Mission is one of the new initiatives by the Government of India. Initially the focus was to provide treatment for Viral Hepatitis C along with various other preventives aspects like awareness generation, safe blood and blood products, injection safety and infection control.

Pangnyu assured that this lifelong treatment for Hepatitis B will also be provided under the program very soon. Health care workers are at increased risk of acquiring Hepatitis B infection in comparison to the general population and hence to administer Hepatitis B vaccine to the risk group, this activity is taken up ongoing.

Co-ordination and collaboration with different line department will be one of the key strategies to address the issue of viral Hepatitis and appealed that on this World Hepatitis Day 2019, ‘Let us join the cause to help people, stop ignorance and neglect of viral hepatitis- share information about it, educate ourself and others to learn the risks for Viral Hepatitis, access testing services and treatment services’.

The key strategies adopted under the programme include preventive and promotive interventions with focus on generating awareness, promoting diagnosis and providing management of viral hepatitis to all in need.

He also mentioned that if a person have been diagnosed with Hepatitis B or C, one should speak with the health provider about potential treatment, monitoring and curative treatment, if detected early, the risk of chronic illnesses and financial burden can be averted. He looked forward to reduce morbidity and mortality due to viral Hepatitis and to achieve the goal of ending viral Hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 in the country.

He also urged the medical fraternity to execute the program sincerely and to make sure that all the deserving beneficiaries should not be left out from availing the benefit specially from the rural areas and called upon all the citizens of the State to extend their cooperation and support to make all the programs success.

SNO, National Viral Hepatitis Control Program, Dr. Vezokholii Theyo in her address said that this programme was launched on 28th July 2018 on the occasion of World Hepatitis Day by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare GOI and after the launch of this programme, State officials were invited for different trainings to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals SDG (S) of 3.3, which was aimed to end viral Hepatitis by 2030.

Viral Hepatitis is one of the leading cause of death globally, accounting for 1.34 million death per year which is as many as HIV/AIDs, Tuberculosis or Malaria. Together Hepatitis B and C cause 80% of liver cancer case in the world, she stated.

She also said viral Hepatitis is not found only in one location nor amongst one set of people. 90% and 80% of people living with Hepatitis B and C are not aware of their status which can result in the real possibility of developing fatal liver disease at some point in their lives and in some cases, unknowing transmitting of infection to others. With the availability of effective vaccines and treatments for Hepatitis B and a cure for Hepatitis C, the elimination of viral Hepatitis is achievable and with the inclusion of viral Hepatitis in the SDGs and the recent adoption of the world’s first global Hepatitis strategy, we are at a pivotal moment, she added.

Presentations were given on Laboratory Diagnosis of NVHCP, Update on Treatment Services for NVHCP and NGO Perspective in Response to NVHCP.

News Source: DIPR, Siizo Kikhi & Limatoshi IA).