Urgent action needed to treat millions of hepatitis patients

Peshawar

Rehman Medical Institute (RMI) organized an event on Saturday regarding ‘World Hepatitis Day’ to create awareness among masses against this disease. A number of consultants, nurses, paramedical staff from RMI and other general public attended the event. Awareness walk, a lecture by Chief Guest Dr Javed Iqbal of Lady Reading Hospital was held and a free hepatitis screening was also inaugurated at RMI for the general public.
The District Health Authority (DHA) Faisalabad also arranged a walk here Saturday to mark the World Hepatitis Day in order to create awareness about viral hepatitis and its complications among public. Deputy Commissioner Syed Ahmad Fawad led the walk while CEO DHA Dr Mushtaq Sipra, DHO Dr Asif Shahzad, Dr Bilal Ahmad, representatives of NGOs and people from different walks of life also participated in the walk. The walk started from District Council Chowk and culminated at Kutchery Bazaar Chowk after passing through the Khalique Qureshi Road. The participants of the walk were carrying banners and placards inscribed with guidelines on prevention and control of hepatitis.
Meanwhile, the Sargodha Health Department organised a seminar and a walk Saturday here in connection with the World Hepatitis Day observance.Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Health Authority Dr Hassan led the walk. A large number of people and health officials participated in the seminar and provided necessary information regarding hepatitis and its medication. According to WHO, 325 million people are suffering from this disease globally. The theme of WHO on WHD-2018 was ‘Test, Treat Hepatitis’, considering Hepatitis B and C as a chronic infection that may not show symptoms for a long period of time, sometimes years or decades.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Khanewal, Ashfaq Ahmed Chaudhry has directed the Health Department authorities to launch a campaign for creating awareness among masses about hepatitis. Addressing a seminar in connection with the World Hepatitis Day here Satuday, he stressed joint efforts by the district administration and the Health Department for creating about the disease.
Millions of people globally, who have viral hepatitis, are unaware or unable to receive treatment, the United Nations health agency said Friday, on the eve of World Hepatitis Day, and underscored the need for urgent action to ‘find, test and treat the missing millions.’ Both worldwide and in the South-East Asia Region, less than one-in-10 infected people are estimated to know their status, while less than 10 per cent of those, who do know, are actually receiving treatment, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
‘This lack of awareness and treatment leads to progressive liver damage and can cause life-threatening conditions, such as fibrosis and liver cancer, resulting in an estimated 410,000 deaths in the Region every year,’ Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia, said in a statement.
‘It also allows viral hepatitis to spread: Region-wide, an estimated 40 million people live with chronic hepatitis B while an estimated 10 million live with chronic hepatitis C,’ she added. Pointing out that ‘urgent action is needed to find, test and treat the missing millions,’ she highlighted the agency’s Regional Action Plan, which aims to expand the number of people aware of their status to 50 per cent, with at least 75 per cent of those diagnosed with the disease, receiving treatment by 2020.—APP

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