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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.