National viral hepatitis control programme launched

National viral hepatitis control programme launched

     
Feb 25, 2019
MUMBAI: The 'National Action Plan – Viral Hepatitis' to provide paperless and free health care for all was launched here on Sunday by Union Minister of State, Health & Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey. The scheme will help ensure consistency in diagnosis and treatment of the disease at a national level.

According to WHO estimates, viral hepatitis caused 1.34 million deaths globally in 2015, a number comparable to deaths due to tuberculosis, worldwide. In India, it is estimated that there are 4 crore people suffering from Hepatitis B and 0.6-1.2 crore people suffering from Hepatitis C.

India is one of the few countries in the world to roll out management of Hepatitis B and hepatitis C in a public health approach and offer free diagnostics and drugs lifelong to its beneficiaries.

The aim of the program is to combat hepatitis and achieve countrywide elimination of Hepatitis C by 2030, achieve significant reduction in the infected population, morbidity and mortality associated with Hepatitis B and C viz. Cirrhosis and Hepato-cellular carcinoma (liver cancer) and Hepatitis A and E.

The Minister also released the Technical Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Hepatitis B. Many countries have achieved outstanding coverage with the hepatitis B vaccine, scoring an early win for prevention. In India, Hepatitis B vaccine was introduced in the Universal Immunization Program almost a decade ago.

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