He called on countries to increase hepatitis testing and treatment in a bid to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030.
"Events like today's that raise awareness and encourage individuals to get tested, especially in the Bronx, where the rates of liver cancer are the highest in the city, are incredibly important, and we are thankful to our partners for their support". The objective of the World Hepatitis Day is to send out a strong and strident message to people across the world, to create awareness and take action and join the massive movement to test and cure millions suffering from the viral. Additionally, people born in regions where hepatitis C is more common, such as in the Philippines where approximately one million people have hepatitis C, should also talk to their doctor about getting tested. The condition can be self-limiting or can progress to liver fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Approximately 399,000 people die each year from hepatitis C, mostly from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, and there is now no vaccine for hepatitis C, however, research in this area is ongoing.
"Despite 400 million people being affected by the disease globally, hepatitis has largely been ignored as a health and development priority until recently", said Avinash Phadke, President-Technology & Mentor (Clinical Pathology) from SRL Diagnostics.
As an early detection of Hepatitis B and C can save lives of patients, they need to be aware of this disease and have hepatitis screening nearly every year. These advances have now made hepatitis C a curable infection in most instances.
He stressed on early intervention through modern medicine and proper lifestyle management which can prevent or address the overwhelming cases of hepatitis B and C. This strategy has led to 20 fold reduction in Hepatitis B in certain countries like China.
If you are between 45 and 60, you are more likely to be unknowingly living with hepatitis C than any other age group.
He also urged people to ensure regular medical check up to know their health status, adding that hepatitis is a silent killer disease. The discussion topics included availability of cheap substandard kits; screening technology options for hepatitis detection, rising prevalence of hepatitis among blood donors, and high hepatitis B and C prevalence among thalassaemia patients. "When I found out I had hepatitis C, I was shocked". "The treatments are highly effective and in most cases, are accomplished in 8-12 weeks". It used the services of Amitabh Bachchan in its campaign, introduced vaccination in the infant immunisation program towards the beginning of this decade, and has very cleverly introduced Hepatitis B screening in the antenatal check up; this is crucial as the cycle of infection uses the mother-infant route.
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