As the world marks the 2018 World Hepatitis Day, with global events and activities aimed at supporting the scale-up of hepatitis prevention, testing, treatment and care services, showcasing best practices/promoting universal health coverage of hepatitis services and improving partnerships and funding in the fight against viral hepatitis, RAHI Medical Outreach in its message to mark the day, calls for more global attention against the major killer disease, especially in developing nations who oftentimes lack the requisite knowledge about its causes, treatment and prevention.
The message which was signed by the Founder/President of the Organization, Dr Chris Ekiyor applauded the theme of this year’s event; “Test. Treat. Hepatitis” as very apt while stressing the need for specific focus on promoting testing and treatment recommendations in line with World Health Organization’s guidelines.
Dr Chris Ekiyor in the message expressed concern that the low coverage of testing and treatment procedures is the most essential gap that should be addressed by health practitioners and major stakeholders in order to achieve the global elimination of the disease as encapsulated in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Viral hepatitis B and C are major health challenges affecting millions of people globally and are the root causes of liver cancer, leading to about 1.34 million deaths every year, according to WHO’s report. Hepatitis B and C are chronic infections that may not show symptoms for a long period, sometimes years or decades. At least 60% of liver cancer cases are due to late testing and treatment of viral hepatitis B and C.
Research has shown that over 90% of new hepatitis B infections occur through Mother-to-Child transmission and during early Childhood. Other groups at higher risk of both hepatitis B & C includes people who injects drugs, homosexuals, people who have tattoos or acupuncture, partners of people living with hepatitis B and health Care workers.