Eliminate hepatitis: we can do it together!

Hepatits dayHepatitis is a group of diseases where the liver is infected by a virus. Some types (hepatitis A & E) spread through contaminated water while the other more dangerous hepatitis B and C spread by coming in contact with infected body fluids.

The problem with these infections (hepatitis B & C) is that very often they do not cause perceivable problems, so while the liver is slowly being damaged in the back ground, we are not aware. Because an infected person does not know about it, the patient continues with his life and might infect others. The person comes to know when it is too late to cure it, when he has developed a liver cancer or irreversible liver cirrhosis- with problems of weakness, tiredness, swelling of body, accumulation of fluid in the stomach or vomiting of blood.

World wide, hepatitis causes more deaths in a year than HIV, nearly the same as from tuberculosis.

As a surgeon, I often see patients with these problems, which require complicated and expensive surgery for cure. Many come past the stage where we can treat them. It saddens me no end, as all of this could have been avoided, had hepatitis been detected in time!

In the last ten years or so, we have developed very good medication for control of hepatitis B and the last two years effective cure of hepatitis C. These treatments have changed the ‘danger quotient’ of the disease (to nearly harmless) while medication has become less expensive and more affordable over time.

The only catch: we should diagnosed hepatitis so that treatment can be started. Diagnosis requires a blood test which is not very expensive and the report should be available the same day.

You can do your bit: be aware, spread awareness and help diagnose your brethren with the disease at the stage when it can be treated. Get yourself tested if you have not! If you have, make it your goal for today to get a colleague of yours tested.

28th of July has been selected by World Health Organisation (WHO) as World Hepatitis Day globally, to honour of the scientist who discovered hepatitis B virus- Baruch Samuel Blumberg on his birthday.

On World Hepatitis Day 2017, lets work together towards the WHO goal of eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030. Together we can!

Designation : Director Liver Transplantation
Deprtment : Liver Transplant & Surgical Gastro

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