29 July 2017
To mark the occasion of World Hepatitis Day, Fortis Hospital, Mohali organized a health screening camp under the guidance here today. More than 200 persons were checked for Hepatitis B or C infection. Dr Arvind Sahni, Director, Gastroenterology, Fortis Hospital,Mohali, who spearheaded the camp, also spoke about the various aspects about this dreaded disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared ‘Eliminate Hepatitis’ as the theme for this year. Speaking to the attendees of the camp, Dr Arvind Sahni emphasized on the need to eliminate hepatitis by undergoing regular steps to identify and mitigate risks associated with the disease. He said, “World Hepatitis day offers an opportunity to various stake holders to be part of eliminating this cancer-causing disease. The theme this year encourages everyone not to simply spread awareness about hepatitis, but also to make lifestyle changes to prevent the disease itself.”
Speaking about the various preventive measures, Dr Arvind Sahni further added, “It is crucial to undergo proper testing of these viruses in certified blood banks, avoid abuse of intravenous drugs, avoid getting tattoos, practice safe sex and make sure that you utilize sterilized needles and syringes. It is not a good idea to undergo a blood transfusion where the blood has not been tested for these viruses.The signs and symptoms of liver disease caused due to Hepatitis B & C appear late. Blood Test is the only definite way to detect these viruses. That’s why we offered free testing for Hep B & C today in the IPD Lobby, so that family members of patients and our staff could benefit from this activity.”
The most common diseases that Hepatitis B and C can inflict are liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Hepatitis C is a liver disease and is caused by Hepatitis C virus. It can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis that can span over from a week to one’s entire lifetime. The virus is a blood borne virus and, as WHO identified, it may happen through injection drug use, unsafe injection practices, unsafe health care and transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products[i]. Globally about 325 million people are living with chronic hepatitis in 2015. India is fourth among 11 countries which carry almost 50% of the global burden of chronic hepatitis[ii]. It is also alarming that the hepatitis deaths are increasing as almost 1.34 million died in 2015[iii]. Certain areas in Punjab and Haryana have alarmingly high rate of Hepatitis C infection at 3.2 – 5.2%. Males between 20 – 35 years of age are at maximum risk of being infected with Hepatitis C.