It can be prevented
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.