Celebrating world hepatitis day

In order to promote awareness about Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, World Hepatitis Day is observed on July 28 jointly by the World Health Organisation and World Hepatitis Alliance.

A day ahead of ‘World Hepatitis Day’ on July 28, the government of India announced a pilot project for the treatment of hepatitis B and C in collaboration with Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences.

The pilot project aims at providing affordable drugs to people.

The cause of the disease:

According to a release from Christian Medical College, Vellore, the liver is the body’s ‘factory’ which converts food into products needed for growth and life.

Hepatitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the liver, commonly caused by infections and excessive consumption of alcohol.

The viruses that commonly infect the liver include Hepatitis A, B, C and E.
Hepatitis A and E are spread through intake of unhygienic food and water and results in jaundice which usually settles within a few weeks.

Hepatitis B and C, on the other hand, is spread through infected blood or body fluids.

For 45-year-old Prajakta Juwekar*, World Hepatitis Day today is very special as after two years of battling with the disease, she is now free from it.

A resident of Ghatkopar, Juwekar was detected with breast cancer six years ago.
As she successfully overcame it, she was diagnosed with hepatitis C two years ago.

Her condition got so bad that she was referred for a liver transplant.”

“Initially, when we put her on treatment, her platelet counts went low. The platelet count fell to dangerous levels below 4,000 and she started bleeding,” said Dr Aabha Nagral, consultant gastroenterologist and hepatologist at Jaslok Hospital.

The team of doctors then decided to go for life-saving drugs meant for increasing the platelet count.
“Luckily it worked in her case. After a turbulent year and a half, she is now virus-free and resuming her normal life. Our biggest achievement was that she didn’t need a liver transplant,” said Dr Nagral.

“Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV) infections are silent diseases that remain asymptomatic for decades. Due to lower awareness, more than 80 percent HCV patients and over 60 percent patients with HBV are diagnosed at a stage when the disease is irreversible,” said Dr Rakesh Rai, liver transplant expert at Fortis Hospital.

On this World hepatitis day, let’s pledge awareness and save lives around us.

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