Why is it in the news?
- Recently, Egypt has achieved “gold tier” status according to WHO criteria for hepatitis C elimination.
More about the news
Criteria for the “gold tier” status include:
- Ensuring 100% blood and injection safety.
- Maintaining a minimum of 150 needles/syringes per year for people who inject drugs (PWID).
- Diagnosing over 80% of people with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV).
- Treating over 70% of individuals diagnosed with HCV.
- Establishing a sentinel surveillance program for hepatitis sequelae, including liver cancer.
Egypt’s “100 Million Healthy Lives” Initiative
- Egypt has implemented the “100 Million Healthy Lives” initiative.
- It has resulted in a significant reduction of hepatitis C prevalence from 10% in 2016 to 5% in 2018, and less than 1% in 2019.
- Diagnosed 87% of people living with hepatitis C and provided curative treatment to 93% of those diagnosed.
- Exceeded WHO’s gold tier targets for diagnosis and treatment.
- Hepatitis refers to liver inflammation.
- Various triggering agents include heavy alcohol use, toxins, medications, and viruses.
- Five main strains/types of hepatitis: A, B, C, D, and E.
- Types B and C are the most common and can lead to chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and related deaths.
Treatment for Hepatitis
- Hepatitis A: Typically, a short-term illness, may not require specific treatment.
- Hepatitis B: No specific treatment for acute hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis C: Antiviral medications can treat both acute and chronic forms.
- Hepatitis D: Pegylated interferon alpha is a treatment option but can have severe side effects.
- Hepatitis E: Currently, no specific medical therapies are available.
- Autoimmune hepatitis: Corticosteroids, like prednisone or budesonide, are important in early treatment and effective for about 80% of patients.
|Key Government Initiatives Related to Hepatitis in India|
National Viral Hepatitis Control Program (NVHCP):
· The National Viral Hepatitis Control Program was launched in 2018 as a comprehensive initiative to combat viral hepatitis in India.
· The program aims to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with hepatitis B and C infections by providing free diagnosis and treatment services.
· It includes activities such as mass awareness campaigns, vaccination for hepatitis B, screening and testing, and treatment with antiviral drugs.
· The Program aims to end viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 in the country.
Universal Immunization Program (UIP):
· The Universal Immunization Program in India includes the vaccination of infants against hepatitis B.
· The hepatitis B vaccine is administered as part of the routine immunization schedule to protect newborns from contracting the virus from infected mothers during childbirth.
Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK):
· The JSSK is a government initiative that provides free maternal and child health services, including hepatitis B vaccinations for pregnant women and newborns.
· This program aims to prevent mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B.
Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA):
· PMSMA is a government program that offers free antenatal care to pregnant women.
· As part of this program, pregnant women are screened for hepatitis B, and if found positive, necessary interventions are provided to prevent transmission to the newborn.
National Health Mission (NHM):
· The NHM supports various public health initiatives, including the prevention and control of hepatitis.
· Under NHM, awareness campaigns and health education programs are conducted to promote safe practices and raise awareness about hepatitis.
Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres (ICTCs):
· ICTCs are established across the country to provide counselling and testing services for HIV and hepatitis.
· These centres play a crucial role in early detection and management of hepatitis infections.
Safe Blood Transfusion Program:
· The Indian government has implemented measures to ensure the safety of blood transfusions, including screening donated blood for hepatitis B and C.
· This initiative aims to reduce the transmission of hepatitis through contaminated blood.
National AIDS Control Organization (NACO):
· NACO, under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, works on preventing and controlling HIV/AIDS in India.
· Given the co-infection risk between HIV and hepatitis, NACO’s efforts indirectly contribute to hepatitis prevention.