State

Hepatitis C treatment facility opened at NHAK

Hepatitis C treatment facility opened at NHAK
S Pangnyu Phom (NP)
Correspondent KOHIMA, Jul 26 (NPN) | Publish Date: 7/26/2019 11:39:28 AM IST

A programme to mark World Hepatitis Day-cum-roll out of hepatitis C treatment at model treatment centre of Naga Hospital Authority, Kohima (NHAK) was held at DBT hall, NHAK here on Friday on the theme “Invest in eliminating hepatitis”.

National Health Mission (NHM) mission director Dr Neikhrielie Khimiao gave a welcome address, while the keynote address was given by National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme’s (NVHCP) State nodal officer Dr Vezokholü Theyo. 

Speaking on the occasion, health & family welfare (H&FW) minister S Pangnyu Phom remarked that viral hepatitis was now recognised as a major public health problem in India. He claimed that Nagaland had proved its dedication in reproductive and child health and communicable diseases, which had resulted in positive outcomes. 

Emphasising that co-ordination and collaboration with different departments would be one of the key strategies to address the issue of viral hepatitis, he mentioned that with the rollout of hepatitis C treatment at NHAK now the need was to ensure hepatitis testing and treatment plans with dedicated funding and investment.

He said NVHCP under NHM was one of the new initiatives of Government of India. Initially, he added that the focus was to provide treatment for viral hepatitis C along with various other preventives aspects like awareness generation, safe blood and blood products, injection safety and infection control. He mentioned that he was happy to announce that lifelong treatment for hepatitis B would also be provided under the programme very soon.

Stating that investing in hepatitis was a smart decision for broader health outcome and preventing liver cancer, the H&FW minister advised everyone to stop being ignorant and neglecting viral hepatitis and share information about it to educate “yourself and others” to learn about the risks of viral hepatitis, access testing services and treatment services. 

Referring to the theme “Invest in eliminating hepatitis”, he said he looked forward to reducing morbidity and mortality due to viral hepatitis and achieve the goal of ending viral hepatitis as a public health threat in the country by 2030.

Phom said if a person had been diagnosed with hepatitis B or C, he or she should speak with the health service provider about potential treatment, monitoring and curative treatment. He added that if the virus was detected early, the risk of chronic illnesses and financial burden could be averted. 

The minister urged members of the medical fraternity to execute the programme sincerely and to make sure that no deserving beneficiaries should be left out from availing the benefit, especially in rural areas, and called upon all citizens of the State to extend their cooperation and support to make the programme a success.

Meanwhile, in her keynote address, Theyo said viral hepatitis was one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for 1.34 million deaths each year, which was as many as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria deaths combined together. Hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C caused 80% of liver cancer cases in the world, she added.

She explained that viral hepatitis was not found in one location, nor among one set of people, adding that it was a global epidemic that could affect millions of people without they being even aware of it. According to her, 90% of people living with hepatitis B and 80% living with hepatitis C were not even aware of their status. But, she warned that this could lead to fatal liver disease at some point of their lives and in some cases they could also be unknowingly transmitting the infection to others. 

She mentioned that the World Hepatitis Day presented an ideal opportunity for people to come together and raise awareness about viral hepatitis among the public. 

NHAK microbiologist Dr Margaret Yhome gave an update on laboratory diagnosis under NVHCP, medicine specialist Dr Imtisunep Jamir explained treatment services of NVCHP and N-NagaDAO president Abou Mere gave an NGO’s perspective to NVCHP, during which he mentioned that there was no data available on viral hepatitis till date. 

 

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