GUWAHATI, July 28 - GNRC Hospitals today observed World Hepatitis Day by encouraging citizens to undergo free fibro screening for liver, hepatitis B and C.
Addressing a press conference at GNRC Dispur, Dr Anjan Saikia, director, gastroenterology & hepatology, highlighted the significance of adopting preventive measures for reducing the spread of hepatitis B and C viruses among individuals.
Dr Saikia highlighted statistics about the impact of this health condition worldwide. �Viral hepatitis is one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for 1.34 million deaths per year; that�s more than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. Together, hepatitis B and hepatitis C cause two in every three liver cancer deaths across the world. It is a truly global epidemic that can affect millions of people without them even being aware,� he said.
To highlight the theme for 2018, �Eliminate Hepatitis�, GNRC Hospitals organised an awareness health talk by Dr Saikia, poster competition amongst medical professionals and free screening for liver, hepatitis B and C.
�The initiatives seek to urge the citizens to adopt preventive measures and raise awareness about the diagnosis and treatment of the health conditions caused by the hepatitis virus,� he said.
The occasion also marked the introduction of the �Liver Care Clinic� at GNRC Hospitals.
Globally, 90 per cent of people living with hepatitis B and 80 per cent living with hepatitis C are unaware about the existence, resulting in the real possibility of developing fatal liver disease or liver cancer at some point in their lives and in some cases, unknowingly transmitting the infection to others.
�They are silent epidemics, affecting children and marginalised populations. In the last few years, significant progress has been made to address the situation. In 2015, elimination of viral hepatitis was included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in 2016 the world�s first global hepatitis strategy to eliminate the disease was ratified. Thanks to this strategy and the availability of effective vaccines and treatments for hepatitis B and a cure for hepatitis C, the elimination of viral hepatitis is no longer a dream,� Dr Saikia said.
However, greater awareness and understanding of the disease and the risks is necessary, as is access to cheaper treatment and diagnostics. One in every 12 people carry hepatitis B or C virus.