Hepatitis warning

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Science & Technology, Topic: Medical science and Health, Issue: India’s Hepatitis challenge

Context: A World Health Organization report has flagged the seriousness of India’s Hepatitis challenge.

India’s Hepatitis burden:

  • India has the world’s second-highest burden of Hepatitis B and C, with over 3 crore and 50 lakh patients respectively.

Key challenges:

  • Hepatitis B carriers may remain asymptomatic for years, complicating diagnosis.
  • Mother-to-child transmission of Hepatitis B.
  • Hepatitis C is treatable with anti-viral drugs, yet 70% of patients remain undiagnosed.
  • Detection rates for Hepatitis C are below 30%, and for Hepatitis B below 3%.

Steps taken by government:

  • The National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme (NVHCP) aims to eliminate Hepatitis C by 2030 and reduce morbidity and mortality associated with Hepatitis B.

The way ahead:

  • Expanding medical facilities to address healthcare deficits and fight viral and bacterial infections.
  • WHO proposes course correction between 2024 and 2026 to align the NVHCP with its targets.
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