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WHO: Urgent increase in hepatitis testing, treatment needed

  • Published at 05:03 pm July 28th, 2018
World Hepatitis Day

Bangladesh, alongside the rest of the world, is observing World Hepatitis Day 2018 to raise awareness against the deadly virus

The World Health Organization (WHO), and partners, are calling on countries to immediately increase hepatitis testing and treatment services to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.

The calls, focused on the theme "Test. Treat. Hepatitis.", come in the lead-up to World Hepatitis Day 2018 on July 28, reports UNB. 

Bangladesh, alongside the rest of the world, is observing World Hepatitis Day 2018 to raise awareness against the deadly virus.

President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sent separate appreciation messages with regards to the observance of the day in Bangladesh.

In his message, the president said the number of people affected by the two viruses is rising because of a lack of knowledge about the diseases.

He said the main reasons behind the disease are re-using the same syringes for drugs intake and unsafe blood circulation.

Hepatitis can be eradicated through creating mass awareness, said the president in his statement, adding this year's theme "Eliminate Hepatitis" is a timely one.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her statement said Hepatitis B and C affected patients are increasing daily in Bangladesh as well as around the world, especially in Asia and the Pacific region.

She said her government has been implementing various programs to create awareness among the masses and also to ensure necessary medical facilities to cure and prevent the diseases, she said. 

Millions of people are infected with the diseases without having any knowledge of them, and often go without receiving treatment. 

According to WHO, the lack of awareness and treatment can lead to progressive liver damage and can even cause life-threatening conditions, resulting in an estimated 410,000 deaths in the Southeast Asian region every year. 

Director General of WHO Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a video statement that WHO has a clear vision and the tools required to eliminate Hepatitis B and C. But the progress must be accelerated to reach the goal of eliminating hepatitis by 2030.

Viral hepatitis affects 325 million people around the world. If left untreated, these infections can result in liver cancer and cirrhosis, which together caused more than 1.3 million deaths in 2015 alone.

Worldwide, less than 20% of people had access to tests and treatment services for Hepatitis B and C infections at the end of 2016.