It can be pre­vented

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

Bhutan joined the global com­mu­nity in ob­serv­ing the world hep­ati­tis day last Tues­day. World­wide in 1 in 12 peo­ple are liv­ing with hep­ati­tis B or C in­fec­tion and ev­ery year 1.4 mil­lion peo­ple die from hep­ati­tis. These death can be pre­vented with bet­ter aware­ness and un­der­stand­ing on how to pre­vent vi­ral hep­ati­tis. That’s was one of the rea­son why the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion made 28th July as the World Hep­ati­tis Day to raise aware­ness on vi­ral hep­ati­tis ev­ery year.

It is the virus that causes hep­ati­tis or in­flam­ma­tion of the liver that are Hep­ati­tis A,B, C, D & E. If these virus or in­fec­tion are left un­treated can lead to chronic liver dis­eases like cir­rho­sis of liver, liver can­cer and liver fail­ure.

With 400 mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing with hep­ati­tis B and C world­wide, Trans­mis­sion of this virus can be pre­vented through bet­ter aware­ness and ser­vices that im­prove vac­ci­na­tions, blood and in­jec­tion safety, and re­duce harm. The World Hep­ati­tis Day aims not only to raise aware­ness among the gen­eral public and in­fected pa­tients, but also to ur­gently pro­mote im­proved ac­cess to hep­ati­tis ser­vices, par­tic­u­larly preven­tion in­ter­ven­tions, by pol­i­cy­mak­ers.

In Bhutan the most com­mon one is hep­ati­tis B which is an in­fec­tion virus Hep­ati­tis B virus is 50 to 100 times more in­fec­tious and easily trans­mit­ted than HIV. There­fore, Bhutan in­tro­duced Hep­ati­tis B vac­cine in 1996 in to rou­tine im­mu­niza­tion pro­gramme for preven­tion. This vac­cine is given at birth, 6 weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks in the form of Pent­va­lent vac­cine.

How­ever in 2012 about 27,000 blood sam­ples were tested for the virus and it was alarm­ing to know that about 600 of them were tested pos­i­tive for the virus. More over in 2013 the num­bers in­creased to about 800 and last year the fig­ures went up to about 1240.

What is alarm­ing to note is that there is an in­crease in the num­ber of hep­ati­tis in­fec­tion ev­ery year and may be it may in­crease this year.

As these viruses are trans­mit­ted through con­tam­i­nated wa­ter and food, as well as by con­tact with blood or bod­ily flu­ids, through un­safe in­jec­tions or trans­fu­sions. In­fec­tion also oc­curs from a mother to a child, or through sex­ual con­tact. In­fec­tion through all these routes of trans­mis­sion can be pre­vented through proven and ef­fec­tive in­ter­ven­tions.

It is im­por­tant for ev­ery­one to be aware of Hep­ati­tis and to learn how we can pro­tect our­selves from this in­fec­tion. May be a bet­ter health ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem and a bet­ter screen­ing fa­cil­i­ties can pre­vented our pop­u­la­tion from this deadly virus as Bhutan can­not af­ford to spare its pre­cious pop­u­la­tion to this deadly virus.

In the mean­time let’s ap­pre­ci­ate the hard work put on by the heath of­fi­cials and learn to pre­vent this virus.

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