Baku, July 28, AZERTAC
The 28th of July is annually noted as the World Hepatitis Day.
WHO highlights the urgent need for countries to enhance action to prevent viral hepatitis infection and to ensure that people who have been infected are diagnosed and offered treatment. This year, the Organization is focusing particularly on hepatitis B and C, which together cause approximately 80% of all liver cancer deaths and kill close to 1.5 million people every year.
WHO is alerting people to the risks of contracting hepatitis from unsafe blood, unsafe injections, and sharing drug-injection equipment. Some 11 million people who inject drugs have hepatitis B or C infection. Children born to mothers with hepatitis B or C and sex partners of people with hepatitis are also at risk of becoming infected.
The Organization emphasizes the need for all health services to reduce risks by using only sterile equipment for injections and other medical procedures, to test all donated blood and blood components for hepatitis B and C (as well as HIV and syphilis) and to promote the use of the hepatitis B vaccine. Safer sex practices, including minimizing the number of partners and using barrier protective measures (condoms), also protect against transmission.
Approximately, two million people a year contract hepatitis from unsafe injections. These infections can be averted through the use of sterile syringes that are specifically designed to prevent reuse.
WHO recommends vaccinating all children against hepatitis B infection, from which approximately 780 000 people die each year. A safe and effective vaccine can protect from hepatitis B infection for life. Ideally, the vaccine should be given as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by 2 or 3 doses to complete the vaccine series.
According to WHO, medicines are now available that can cure most people with hepatitis C and control hepatitis B infection. People who receive these medicines are much less likely to die from liver cancer and cirrhosis and much less likely to transmit the virus to others. WHO therefore urges people who think they might have been exposed to hepatitis to get tested so they can find out whether they need treatment to improve their own health and reduce the risk of transmission.
Earlier this year, WHO issued new guidelines for treatment of hepatitis B infection. These recommend using simple non-invasive tests to assess the stage of liver disease to help identify who needs treatment. WHO also calls for prioritizing treatment for those with cirrhosis – the most advanced stage of liver disease and for the use of two safe and highly effective medicines, tenofovir or entecavir. Continued monitoring using simple tests is important to assess whether treatment is working, and if it can be stopped.
In September this year, countries will have the opportunity to share best practice at the first-ever World Hepatitis Summit to be held in Glasgow, Scotland. The summit, which is co-sponsored by WHO, the Scottish Government and the World Hepatitis Alliance, aims to raise the global profile of viral hepatitis, to create a platform for exchange of country experiences and to focus on working with countries to develop national action plans.
As is stated, in Azerbaijan, from January next year medicine for patients with hepatitis B and C will be provided by the state, the Ministry of Health said.
Taking into account the number of cases of hepatitis B and C, to determine the appropriate diagnosis and improve the work, a commission for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of viral hepatitis has been created. Those who applied to the commission received an appropriate appointment. Necessary medicines were purchased by the Centre of Innovation and Support, and in January the provision of this medication to patients will begin, the Ministry said.