Urgent action needed to find, treat millions suffering from viral hepatitis

Free hepatitis testing in downtown PG

Urgent increase in hepatitis testing and treatment needed

According to him, "Prior report suggested a prevalence of about 10-15 per cent risk in the Nigerian population, and some investigators have found high Hepatitis B prevalence among surgeons; as high as 26 per cent".

Today, the global community is set to observe World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness of the deadly virus.

Hepatitis is a generic term for inflammation of the liver whether caused by viral infections, alcohol, autoimmunity, genetic disorders or drug toxicities. "Though Hepatitis C can be treated and cured, many people with Hepatitis C have no symptoms, so it's crucial to get tested and know your status", said Stephane Howze, Vice President of Member Experience at Amida Care. Those who develop chronic hepatitis, subsequently develop cirrhosis which has effect on the brain and bleeding or jaundice and then end up requiring a transplant or they develop a liver cancer.

They are root causes of liver cancer, leading to 1.34 million deaths every year. Such tests are useful in the long-term management of patients with hepatitis, to keep a track on the treatment progression.

He called on countries to increase hepatitis testing and treatment in a bid to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. Left untreated, these infections lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis, which together caused more than 1.3 million deaths in 2015 alone. About half of the people with Hep C don't even know they're infected because they have no symptoms, which can take decades to appear.

"Many diseases are caused by the transmission of germs and infection can be easily avoided through the simple act of handwashing".

For both Hepatitis B and C, treatment is most effective if initiated at an early stage.

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

"It also allows viral hepatitis to spread".

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.

Around 200,000 people in the United Kingdom are thought to be living with chronic HCV, yet challenges in awareness remain a barrier to timely diagnosis and treatment.

As with HBV, HCV is spread through direct exposure to blood or bodily fluids.

To coincide with World Hepatitis Day on July 28, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust's Viral Hepatitis Team will be raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of hepatitis among the public and health professionals.

Observers have blamed manpower deficit for the rising incidence of the disease in the country, lamenting that with less 100 hepathologists in the country, it is hard for those diagnosed of hepatitis to see a physician as HBV patients queue for three months before seeing a hepathologist. We are seeing the greatest increase of new infections among young people with a history of injection drug use and sharing drug use equipment like needles, cottons, water or cookers increases the risk of getting the illness.

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