North East Digestive and Liver Foundation to organise awareness programs to create awareness of Hepatitis

Desk Guwahati, July 26

World Hepatitis Day is observed each year on 28 Julyto raise awareness of viral hepatitis, which causes inflammation of the liver that leads to severe diseases i.e. liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.

On World Hepatitis Day 2022, Aligning with World Health Organization, North East Digestive and Liver Foundation in association with Department of Gastroenterology, Gauhati Medical College and Indian Society of Gastroenterology, North East Chapter is highlighting the need for bringing hepatitis care closer to the primary health facilities and communities so that people have better access to treatment and care, no matter what type of hepatitis they may have.

Sharing his thoughts on what makes hepatitis a global health problem, Dr B D Goswami, Senior Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist, said, “Every 30 seconds, someone dies from a viral hepatitis related illness. However, with the existing prevention, testing and treatment services that are available every hepatitis related death is preventable. Hepatitis can affect anyone, but it has a disproportionate effect on the people and communities most underserved by health systems.”

WHO aims to achieve hepatitis elimination by 2030.To get there, WHO calls on countries to achieve specific targets:
• Reduce new infections of hepatitis B and C by 90%;
• Reduce hepatitis related deaths from liver cirrhosis and cancer by 65%;
• Ensure that at least 90% of people with hepatitis B and C virus are diagnosed ; and
• At least 80% of those eligible receive appropriate treatment.
WHAT IS VIRAL HEPATITIS
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection. There are five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. These five types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread.
Hepatitis B
Key facts–
• Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease.
• The virus is most commonly transmitted from mother to child during birth and delivery, as well as through contact with blood or other body fluids during sex with an infected partner, unsafe injections or exposures to sharp instruments.
• WHO estimates that 296 million people were living with chronic hepatitis B infection in 2019, with 1.5 million new infections each year.
• In 2019, hepatitis B resulted in an estimated 820 000 deaths, mostly from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (primary liver cancer).
• Hepatitis B can be prevented by vaccines that are safe, available and effective.
Hepatitis C
Key facts
• Antiviral medicines can cure more than 95% of persons with hepatitis C infection, but access to diagnosis and treatment is low.
• There is currently no effective vaccine against hepatitis C.
• WHO estimated that in 2019, approximately 290 000 people died from hepatitis C, mostly from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (primary liver cancer).
• Globally, an estimated 58 million people have chronic hepatitis C virus infection, with about 1.5 million new infections occurring per year. There are an estimated 3.2 million adolescents and children with chronic hepatitis C infection.
• Hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus.
• The virus can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis, ranging in severity from a mild illness to a serious, lifelong illness including liver cirrhosis and cancer.
• The hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus and most infection occur through exposure to blood from unsafe injection practices, unsafe health care, unscreened blood transfusions, injection drug use and sexual practices that lead to exposure to blood.

Looking in to the seriousness of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C viruses, every year North East Digestive and Liver Foundation in association with Department of Gastroenterology, Gauhati Medical College and Indian Society of Gastroenterology, North East Chapter, is observing “World Hepatitis Day” on 28th July. This year also, they are organizing various activities to spread the awareness to prevent these two deadly diseases and bringing the world together under a single theme to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis and to influence real change. In 2022 the theme is ‘I can’t wait’.

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