“Eliminate Hepatitis” Is Theme For World Hepatitis Day 2017

by Kim Boateng Posted on July 28th, 2017

World Hepatitis Day 2017 is being observed under the theme “Eliminate Hepatitis” to mobilize intensified action towards the health targets in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. In 2016, the World Health Assembly endorsed WHO’s first global health sectors strategy on viral hepatitis to help countries scale up their responses.

The new WHO data show that more than 86% of countries reviewed have set national hepatitis elimination targets and more than 70% have begun to develop national hepatitis plans to enable access to effective prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care services. Furthermore, nearly half of the countries surveyed are aiming for elimination through providing universal access to hepatitis treatment. But WHO is concerned that progress needs to speed up.

“The national response towards hepatitis elimination is gaining momentum. However, at best one in ten people who are living with hepatitis know they are infected and can access treatment. This is unacceptable,” said Dr Gottfried Hirnschall, WHO’s Director of the HIV Department and Global Hepatitis Programme.

“For hepatitis elimination to become a reality, countries need to accelerate their efforts and increase investments in life-saving care. There is simply no reason why many millions of people still have not been tested for hepatitis and cannot access the treatment for which they are in dire need.”

Viral hepatitis affected 325 million people worldwide in 2015, with 257 million people living with hepatitis B and 71 million people living with hepatitis C – the two main killers of the five types of hepatitis. Viral hepatitis caused 1.34 million deaths in 2015 – a figure close to the number of TB deaths and exceeding deaths linked to HI

Hepatitis is a viral disease that kills 1.34 million men, women and children every year – as compared to other diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/ AIDS.

 

This year 2017 already, there are 325 million living with hepatitis, yet less than 2% have access to medicines all over the world. Therefore today being the world hepatitis day provides the perfect opportunity to sensitize people on this viral disease and also proffer solutions as regards access to health facilities to treat this disease.

Hepatitis is an health condition where the liver is inflamed.

Although there are other major causes of hepatitis, it is majorly a caused by viral infection. Other possible causes include secondary result of medications, drugs, toxins, and heavy alcohol consumption, and an abnormal immune response to a normal body part also known to be autoimmune diseases.

World Hepatitis Day: types of viral hepatitis

The five types of hepatitis are classified as hepatitis A,B,C,D, and E. While Hepatitis A (like some of you are aware) is acute and short term, B,C,D are most likely ongoing, recurring and very chronic! Hepatitis E, is usually acute and very dangerous especially in pregnant women.

Viral infections of the liver that are classified as hepatitis include hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. A different virus is responsible for each type of virally transmitted hepatitis.

World Hepatitis Day: What you need to Know to help “Eliminate Hepatitis”

People may have no symptoms of hepatitis while some other people may develop visible symptoms like skin discolouration, poor appetite, pain around the abdomen, vomiting, diarrhoea.

Hepatitis may be acute (temporary) or chronic (short term). This is dependent on whether it stays up to or more than 6 months on the body of the infected person(s). Remember that a typical hepatitis case may result in the other, and the time span for changing phases may be short, depending on the swiftness to treating when discovered!

Some of the signs and symptoms include (but not limited to) tiredness, dark urine, pale and watery stool, unexpected weight loss, yellow skin, yellow eyes, and typical signs of jaundice.

Drug use can lead to hepatitis.

Hepatitis, especially C is ten times more infectious than HIV/AIDS. Hepatitis C can also be saxually transmitted but the likelihood of contacting the virus is through sharing needles, blood transfusions and other equipment used in injecting drugs. Even unsterilized tattoo needles can lead to a viral Hepatitis infection.

80% of people infected with Hepatitis C do not even know that they have it.

Dirty environments, poor sanitation like dirty bathroom, drinking contaminated water, eating food that is not properly cooked, and under-cooked meat of pigs can expose you to a high level ad risk of contracting hepatitis A and E.

People in areas flooding too are exposed to the virus. Remember the recent Lagos flooding?

Hepatitis B is usually transferred for mother to child, hence the major reason why a lot of pregnant women are tested.

Chronic hepatitis can lead to liver failure and when that begins to happen, your brain can relapse and that can lead to a condition close to dementia. Also, there may be issues with blood clotting since faulty liver leads to fewer protein which helps to clot blood.

Author

Kim Boateng

Kim Boateng

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