World Hepatitis Day is observed every year on 28th July worldwide to spread awareness and promote global action against viral hepatitis. Hepatitis majorly affects the liver and causes inflammation of it. Hepatitis can be broadly categorized into five main kinds – A, B, C, D and E. Ziqitza Healthcare ltd, one of India’s renowned healthcare institutions, explains that Hepatitis A and E are commonly caused due to consumption of contaminated food and water. Ziqitza further explains that Hepatitis B is largely sexually transmitted; however it can also be transferred from mother to baby during pregnancy or childbirth. Hepatitis C is spread by infected blood – for instance, during needle sharing by intravenous drug users. Hepatitis D only infects those who were already infected by Hepatitis B.
Together, Hepatitis B and C have caused chronic disease in millions of people globally, and are also infamous for causing liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and viral hepatitis-related deaths. While pointing at statistics, Ziqitza Healthcare remarked that as of the year 2019, around 116 million people from the Western Pacific are living with Hepatitis B and an estimated 10 million people are suffering from Hepatitis C. Ziqitza further states that while there are scientific and evidence-based methodologies available for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of Hepatitis B and C, majority of the people remain undiagnosed and untreated.
World Hepatitis Day is one of eleven official global public health campaigns observed by the World Health Organization. The other campaigns are, World Health Day, World Chagas Disease Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Malaria Day, World Immunization Week, World Tuberculosis Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, World Patient Safety Day, and World AIDS Day.
Bringing Hepatitis Care Closer to You
The theme for this year’s Hepatitis Day is ‘Bringing hepatitis care closer to you’. Ziqitza Rajasthan explains that this year’s theme aims to raise awareness about bringing hepatitis care out from hospitals to primary health care centers, community-based venues and locations other than hospitals. The idea is to make hepatitis care accessible. ZHL Rajasthan points out that the global health sector strategies for 2022-2020 devised by WHO also concentrates on the importance of people-centered care, more importantly, person-centered care and mobilization of systems and services to achieve hepatitis elimination by the year 2030. To achieve complete elimination of hepatitis, a minimum of 60 percent of people suffering from hepatitis B and C must be diagnosed and 50% must be receiving treatment by 2025.
Establishing quality hepatitis services: Ziqitza Limited states that elimination of Hepatitis is only possible when access to hepatitis services and care is made affordable, accessible. The healthcare infrastructure needs to be effective, efficient and equitable as well.
Adopting patient’s first attitude: Countries must decentralize hepatitis care and move it out from hospitals and bring it close to the communities. Hepatitis care must be brought to peripheral health facilities, community venues.
Training all health professionals about Hepatitis: Ziqitza Limited Rajasthan points out that decentralized hepatitis care and treatment can only reach people when, each and every health professionals, non-specialist doctors and nurses are trained about hepatitis care and treatment.
Interlink hepatitis care with existing public health services: Hepatitis treatment and care can be coupled with other primary healthcare programmes, and integrated and interlinked with HIV awareness programmes, prison health services, and harm reduction services (OSTs and needle exchange programs).
Ensure resilient and equitable health systems: Building a strong and resilient healthcare system plays a crucial role in eliminating hepatitis. Strong healthcare systems and adequately funded delivery mechanisms are vital in achieving hepatitis elimination. Ziqitza Health care limited essays that India can look at increased adoption of the public private partnership model to work towards eradication of Hepatitis.