The prevalence of the deadly disease has dropped to less than 1% among five-year-old children
Bangladesh is among the first four countries in the WHO South-East Asia region to achieve Hepatitis B control, with the disease dropping to less than 1% among five-year-old children.
“Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Thailand have become the first countries in the WHO South-East Asia region to achieve Hepatitis B control, with prevalence of the deadly disease dropping to less than 1% among five-year-old children,” the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Friday.
The Expert Panel for Verification of Hepatitis B Control in the WHO South-East Asia region recommended verifications of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Thailand, after reviewing childhood immunization data that showed a consistent, over 90% coverage with Hepatitis B vaccine doses provided during infancy for past many years.
Children across 11 countries of the WHO South-East Asia Region get three doses of Hepatitis B containing vaccines in their first year of life under national immunization program. Eight countries also administer Hepatitis B vaccine birth dose crucial to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the disease.
Preventing Hepatitis B infection in infancy substantially reduces chronic infections, and cases of liver cancer, and cirrhosis in adulthood.
“Unwavering determination to reach every child, everywhere, every time, with life-saving Hepatitis B vaccines through childhood immunization, has made this achievement possible,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director, WHO South-East Asia.
“Hepatitis can easily be prevented, and also treated. Member countries must continue to spread awareness about Hepatitis, and scale up other preventive measures such as safe injection, safe blood and infection prevention, and control,” he said.