National
Experts call for stepped-up hepatitis battle
Publish Date: Jul 27, 2014
Experts call for stepped-up hepatitis battle
  • mail
  • img
newvision

GENEVA - The world can beat the cancer-causing disease hepatitis if it raises its game, but treatment programmes need to go hand in hand with those tackling the likes of HIV, experts said.

Viral hepatitis is a group of infectious diseases known by the letters A, B, C, D or E, which attack the liver.

Despite killing close to 1.4 million people every year -- with Asia the hardest-hit region -- hepatitis has long failed to grab the spotlight.

Ninety percent of deaths are from hepatitis B and C, responsible for two-thirds of the global liver cancer toll.

"It's a no-brainer. The best way to prevent liver cancer or people dying from liver cirrhosis is to prevent and treat viral hepatitis," said Samuel So, a liver surgeon and professor at Stanford University in California.

"If you do that, you'll save a lot of lives and a lot of healthcare costs," he told reporters in Geneva.

Hepatitis B and C are transmitted from infected mothers to newborn babies, by unsafe injections during medical procedures and drug use, or unsafe sex.

"Finally we're seeing some real momentum building," said Stefan Wiktor, leader of the hepatitis programme at the World Health Organization.

Testing is crucial, given that of the estimated 500 million people with viral hepatitis, many are unaware of their infection.

"We also need to make sure there is prevention in place, that healthcare-associated transmission is reduced, that injecting drug users to the equipment they need to prevent from getting infected," Wiktor told reporters.

Hepatitis C, notably, is undergoing a "therapeutic revolution", Wiktor said, with new medicines offering a cure rate of 95 percent.

"That totally changes the dynamic about how we should approach this," he added.

Hepatitis kills almost as many people a year as HIV/AIDS, and therefore needs a similar degree of international traction, said So.

People affected by HIV are also particularly vulnerable to hepatitis, with up to 10 million worldwide estimated to be infected with both.

Advances in HIV treatment have prolonged the lives of people with that virus, meaning they have more time to develop hepatitis-related liver cancer, but hepatitis treatment still lags behind.

"The structure we created for HIV treatment is ideal for hepatitis treatment. It's time that we didn't put these diseases into silos," So said.

RELATED ARTICLES

Army recruits dropped over Hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS

Hepatitis E under control, says Gov't

Is hepatitis curable?

Health Ministry wants sh3b to fight Hepatitis E

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Pakistani sexual abuse case judgment flops
The judgment of a case in which two Pakistanis’ are charged with having canal knowledge against order of nature and domestic violence has been adjourned to December 22, 2014 by the Chief magistrate Buganda Road court, Lillian Bucyana....
Daniel Kidega is new EALA Speaker
Ugandan legislator Daniel Kidega has been named the new Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, replacing Margaret Zziwa....
Archbishop raps KCCA over transfer of taxi park to Usafi
Archbishop Lwanga expresses concern over the difficult access of Nsambya Hospital following the transfer of taxis from the Old Taxi Park to Usafi Park....
Kisenyi Al shabaab terror linked case for January 5
The case of the 10 al-shabaab-linked terror suspects arrested in September in the city suburb of Kisenyi, has been pushed to January 5....
Man gets life sentence for raping, impregnating own daughter
A 54-year old man is to spend the rest of his life in prison for raping and impregnating his 14-year-old daughter....
Court rejects witnesses of ex-army commander
The General Court Martial in Makindye has rejected nine witnesses of the former commander of UPDF Battle Group 11+ in Somalia Col. Hassan Kimbowa....
Do you agree with the ban on the export of maids?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter