The World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) is launching a campaign, "Find the Missing Millions", this year to mark the World Hepatitis Day (July 28). "Left untreated, these infections lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis, which together caused more than 1.3 million deaths in 2015 alone", it said in a statement.
They said viral hepatitis could become "2nd polio for Pakistan" as entire world was planning for its elimination by 2030 but in Pakistan, majority of people didn't even know that they were infected with hepatitis B and C, and adding feared that harsh travel restrictions could be imposed on Pakistanis if viral hepatitis was not controlled in Pakistan by 2030.
The results of this survey highlight the very low levels of awareness of hepatitis C and the factors that can put people at risk of infection. World Health Organization activities have multiple objectives globally such as supporting testing and treatment, showcasing best practices in promoting hepatitis related services and improving partnership and funding in the fight against viral hepatitis.
John Jabbour, WHO's representative in Egypt, said that the WHO is working on detecting Hepatitis C in Egypt and providing necessary treatment to people in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.
"Hepatitis is a viral disease that affects the liver, it is simply an inflammatory of the liver (acute and chronic)". Home to one quarter of the world's people, the region bears almost half of the global death toll from hepatitis.
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According to him, hepatitis could cause chronic liver diseases, liver cancer and death without manifesting any weighty symptoms.
Screening for HCV among blood donors has reduced the risk of acquiring HCV from blood products by half to two thirds. There are many causes of hepatitis like viral infections by hepatitis A, B, C, D and E, including auto-immune hepatitis, fatty liver hepatitis, alcohol-induced hepatitis and drug-related hepatitis. Around 40 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B and 6 to 12 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis C in India. In 2016 the theme was "Know Hepatitis- Act Now" and in 2017; "Eliminate Hepatitis".
Adamu said that the World Hepatitis Day is set aside by WHO, to increase awareness on viral hepatitis, improve its prevention, enhance early detection as well as to ensure prompt treatment, promote control efforts and ultimately eliminate it in the society.
A large turnout of the public from a variety of walks of life was witnessed at Sindh Institute of and Transplantation (SIUT) on Friday to avail the free screening and diagnostic facilities for Hepatitis on the World Hepatitis Day.
"It is encouraging to see one of the most affected countries in our Region demonstrate such leadership", said Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific. "Our new recommendations should pave the way for everybody with hepatitis C to access testing and curative treatment now". A vaccine can be given to those who are at increased risk of HBV infection such as healthcare workers.
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