Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver. The Hepatitis virus is the most common cause of Hepatitis. However, there are other possible causes like autoimmune Hepatitis, intake of alcohol, drugs and medications. Some people with the virus experience common symptoms like yellow discolouration of skin and whites of the eyes, while there are others who don’t experience any symptoms at all. However, Hepatitis can last for less than six months or more. Hepatitis is caused mostly by the viruses Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E.
Hepatitis B has been an acute health challenge that the world has been facing for the past few decades now. The World Health Organization considers the menace of Hepatitis B and C as the deadliest epidemics throughout the globe, as these are the common causes of Cirrhosis and Cancer. In India itself, over 10 million people are suffering from Hepatitis B. This deadly disease is also referred to as a silent killer because in most of the cases people do not experience any symptoms at all. It has taken the lives of more people per year than HIV and Malaria combined. However, most of the chronic cases have little or no access to treatment. Nonetheless, the world has been able to combat the deadly disease with their incessant effort. Here’s how:
Aggressive Testing and Early Diagnosis
Countries across the world were fast in implementing a National Hepatitis Policy for the identification of the infection through an aggressive task force. With advanced screening laboratories and trained manpower in place, the identification and diagnosis of this disease became far easier as compared to the initial years of the outbreak. An effective surveillance regime for identifying those at the risk of being infected has drastically reduced the infection rates. Moreover, an exponential increase in the testing pattern and state of the laboratories and vaccination have been the foot soldiers in the battle against Hepatitis. This intensive testing strategy has helped governments across the world identify the infected patients and thus overcome the greatest barrier in the fight against the infection.
Community Centric Models
Considerable progress in identifying the causes and carriers of the infection has further helped the authorities in flattening the curve of the infected patients to a substantial degree. The availability of safe and potable water, prevention of misuse of used syringes and needles, early screening coupled with effective vaccination has also played a vital role in combating the infection. Further, the availability of cheap and effective drugs have been an indispensable aspect of the war against the infection. Direct-Acting Antiviral drugs have changed the entire landscape of the Hepatitis cure due to their effectiveness in radically fighting against the infection. As many as 9 out of every 10 patients are cured within 2 years with the help of DAA.
One must reckon that the fight against Hepatitis is not yet over and a huge chunk of the world population is living under a direct threat of being infected. However, through a patient-centric and sustainable health response to the menace of HCB, the world community has been successful in containing the infection. The community-focused models and technological advancement in diagnosing and treating the patients have been the bulwark of the fight against hepatitis.