DIMAPUR, July 28 - Cautioning on the emerging threat of HCV (Hepatitis C Virus) in Nagaland, the Network of Nagaland Drugs and AIDS Organisation (NNagaDAO) has urged for inclusion of the State in the Hepatitis National Programme.
NNagaDAO president and director of Kirpa Foundation Abou Mere made the appeal in an open letter to the Special Secretary of Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and Director General of National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) on the occasion of World Hepatitis Day today.
�The Hepatitis C issue in Nagaland has emerged to be of urgent concern but even in recent years, not much has been done by the State Government, civil organisations or the NGOs working in the field of HIV/AIDS and other health sectors, whereas the epidemic continues to spread rapidly and at an alarming rate,� NNagaDAO said in the letter.
It pointed out that the emerging threat needs to be addressed now or else the people of Nagaland in general and the Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) in particular stand to face a �huge HCV disease burden� which will challenge the State health programmes in the coming years.
The NNagaDAO recalled that the burden of HCV in Nagaland emerged after the documentation of research data of Phek and Wokha districts by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR/RMRC) through the Integrated Bio-Behavioral Assessment (IBBA) study among IDUs in 2006 and 2009.
According to the data, the prevalence rate in Phek stood at 5.4 per cent (2006) to 8.7 per cent (2009) and 16.7 per cent (2006) to 20.8 per cent (2006) in Wokha, signifying not only an alarming rate of HCV infection among this community but also an ever increasing trend.
While highlighting this, the NNagaDAO has urged NACO to include Nagaland in the Hepatitis National Programme.
Meanwhile, Network of Naga People Living with HIV/AIDS (NNP+) on Wednesday said the year 2016 is a pivotal year for viral hepatitis. A press note from NNP+ on World Hepatitis Day today said this would be the first time national governments sign up and commit to the goal of eliminating viral hepatitis.
At the World Health Assembly held in May, WHO Member States had pledged to adopt the first ever Elimination Strategy for Viral Hepatitis with ambitious targets and a goal to eliminate hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.
And while supporting this global event and to elevate the theme of �Elimination,� World Hepatitis Day programmes are being jointly organised by HepCoN, NUN, Kripa Foundation, NNP+, NSACS, in the districts of Kohima, Wokha, Mokokchung, Satakha (Zunheboto district), Pfutsero (Phek district), Kiphire, Tuensang and Mon.