- Hepatitis B and C on the rise due to lack of awareness -
- Regular screening and health check-ups the only answer for prevention or early detection and treatment, propagates the doctor -
In an initiative to commemorate the World Hepatitis Day on 28th July, 2017, Columbia Asia Hospital, Ghaziabad organized an event for creating increased awareness of the risks of contracting the virus Hepatitis B and C and the resultant health challenges that a patient faces. The session also addressed the effects on health of the Hepatitis virus A, D and E but the focus was on how Hepatitis B and C can lead to fatal consequences if not detected early and treated accordingly. The event was led by Dr. Manish Kak, Consultant, Gastroenterology, Columbia Asia Hospital, Ghaziabad.
The initiative also included a special health camp on Hepatitis for the benefit of people who availed medical advice and were also extended facilities for Doctor’s consultation & BMD (Bone Mineral Density test). The screening test for Hepatitis B and C was also conducted during the health camp. The camp was greeted with an overwhelming response from as many as 60people including men and women of various age groups. They were extended free medical advice and also educated on the down side of contracting the diseases. Expectant mothers were educated about how they could be at a risk of passing on Hepatitis B virus to their unborn child if a proper screening was not conducted during their pregnancy to rule out the dormant virus in their body.
Dr.Manish Kak, Consultant, Gastroenterology, Columbia Asia Hospital, Ghaziabad said,“Instances of Hepatitis cases are on the rise and the need for higher awareness among people about this serious blood borne virus of Hepatitis B and C. Hepatitis B and C can spread in various ways like bodily fluids, injectables, blood transfusion and unprotected sexual contact. Unfortunately, the instances of Hepatitis infections are on the rise among the young populace as well but the good news is that it can be prevented with little bit of caution.”
However, Dr. Kak adds, “Hepatitis C in particular is one of the serious infections of the liver because if untreated in can lead to chronic liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis and even liver cancer.”
In areas like Ghaziabad, the camp has a special significance as the prevalence of certain types of Hepatitis virus like C appears to be higher in Delhi NCR suburbs and rural pockets where lack of awareness about blood transmission routes remains a major challenge. An added challenge in these areas is the existence of quacks that may practice unscrupulous habits such as using unsterile medical equipment, re-using needles etc.
Commenting on how the disease can be prevented from spreading and the government’s initiatives in this direction, Dr. Kak said, “If regular screening measures are implemented, the disease can be substantially controlled. Containing the spread of the virus is a key responsibility of healthcare providers, as most oftenthe virus is transmitted during surgical procedures or dialysis procedures where equipment isshared among patients. There should also be a strict adherence to blood screening guidelines can prevent the spread of the virus. Blood banks also need to religiously adhere to universal guidelines maintained by WHO.”
India records as many as 6-12 million hepatitis C virus (HCV) infected people, according to estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO). These people have limited access to testing and treatment facilities. Prevention is possible but so is cure. Among various initiatives that the government is conducting to control the spread, they have introduced cost effective, affordable medicines and vaccines to work towards eradication of Hepatitis virus.