India’s hepatitis headache

Syllabus: GS-I, Subject: Society and social justice, Topic: Social Sector- Health, Issue: World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Global Hepatitis Report 202


  • Viral hepatitis includes hepatitis A, E, B, C, and D, with B and C posing significant health risks.
  • Hepatitis B can be prevented by vaccination, while hepatitis C can be cured with medication.
  • Hepatitis D can only infect those who are already infected with hep B.
  • In India, hep B transmission is largely through mother-to-child transmission, while hep C infections are common among injection drug users.
  • Challenges in controlling hepatitis B include ensuring full vaccination coverage and providing timely treatment.
  • Treatment coverage for hepatitis B and C in India is notably lower than for tuberculosis, despite comparable mortality rates and cheaper availability.
  • Improving vaccination coverage and treatment access are crucial for addressing viral hepatitis in India.
+1 advantage for mains:

Key findings of the WHO’s Global Hepatitis Report 2024:

●        India has one of the highest burdens(11% of the global burden) of viral hepatitis globally, ranking second only to China.

●        India is among 10 countries where 80% of hepatitis C infections are among injection drug users.

Key facts related to hepatitis in India:

●        The hepatitis B vaccine was introduced in India’s universal immunization program in 2007-08.

●       The National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme in 2018 included provisions for vaccinating high-risk groups like healthcare workers against hepatitis B.

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