Worldwide, hepatitis kills nearly 1.34 million people every year and around 325 million people are living with viral hepatitis. Hepatitis B and C cause 80% of liver cancer cases globally and these viruses lead to 1 in every 12 cancer deaths. May 2016 saw the first historic worldwide elimination strategy wherein, 194 governments adopted this strategy to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030.
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused due to a virus. Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E virus cause viral hepatitis out of which hepatitis B, C and D can cause chronic hepatitis where the infection remains intact throughout the life of the patient. Chronic hepatitis may also result in cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. Some types of hepatitis cure on their own, some other forms require drugs and the rest stay forever. The best treatment is to prevent hepatitis in the first place by maintaining hygienic environments and eating healthy foods. Visit the website www.firsteatright.com to get in touch with reputed dietitians/nutritionists to plan healthy meals for hepatitis patients.
The theme for 2017 World Hepatitis Summit is ‘Implementing the Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis: Towards the elimination of hepatitis as a public health threat’. The summit helps countries worldwide to develop practical viral hepatitis action plans with the help of WHO.
Eradicate Hepatitis by 2030
In history, almost 3 million people were treated for hepatitis C over the last two years and 2.8 million people were put on a lifelong treatment plan for hepatitis B in 2016. Also, the number of countries coming forward to pledge against hepatitis has increased by 5-folds.
People are aware of the need of hepatitis vaccines for children and hepatitis B infection rates in kids (below 5 years) fell to 1.3% in 2015, from 4.7% in the pre-vaccine era.
Though not unattainable, the goal to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030 has a long way to go and funding remains as a major constraint which most countries are in need of.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.