Before the Covid 19 outbreak early last year, Saudi Arabia was on track to eradicate hepatitis by 2030.
According to Arab News, like all other countries globally, Saudi Arabia also prioritized efforts to fight the Covid 19.
However, hepatitis, also known as the silent killer, is unknown to 95% of infected people worldwide. An estimated 325 million people worldwide live with hepatitis B or C, and for most, the diagnosis. Also, the treatment of the disease is beyond their reach.
What Is World Hepatitis Day and how to Eradication Of Hepatitis?
July 28 is World Hepatitis Day. WHO choose this date on the birthday of Nobel Prize-winning scientist Dr. Baroch Bloomberg, who discovered the hepatitis B virus and developed a diagnostic test and vaccine.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Health Agenda:
When efforts for corona vaccination are in full swing, the epidemic is beginning to subside in many developed countries. The fight against the hepatitis virus is an essential part of Saudi Arabia’s public health agenda.
Dr. Faisal Abakhel, a consultant transplant hepatologist at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, told Arab News that the Saudi Ministry of Health had launched a special program to fight hepatitis C in the kingdom before the Coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
But then the Coronavirus came and disrupted many activities, after which the war against Corona had prioritized.
Diseases Caused By Hepatitis & Eradication Of Hepatitis:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hepatitis can cause several health problems and can be fatal. The virus categorizes into five different types called A, B, C, D, and E.
Types B and C, in particular, cause chronic disease and are also the cause of liver inflammation and liver cancer.
Hepatitis caused an estimated 1.34 million deaths worldwide in 2015, most of them from the deadly disease B infection.
Who Report About Increasing Rate Of Hepatitis And Road Map To Eliminate It:
According to the WHO, by 2030, 4.5 million patients in low- and middle-income countries could be saved from the disease through vaccinations, diagnostic tests, medications, and awareness campaigns. Similarly, people can prevent some types of hepatitis by immunization.
In 2016, the WHO Global Health Sector Strategy released a roadmap to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health problem by 2030.
The plan calls for a 90 percent reduction in infections and a 65 percent reduction in deaths by the end of the decade, with 257 million people diagnosed with hepatitis B, 71 million with hepatitis C and 36.7 million with HIV in 2015.
Hepatitis B spreads through contact with an infected person’s blood or other body fluids, but you can prevent it by vaccination.
Hepatitis C is a significant cause of liver cancer, and its victims often need a liver transplant. There is no vaccine yet.
Saudi Efforts Against Alarming Rate Of Hepatitis:
Saudi Arabia had one of the highest rates of hepatitis B globally in the 1980s, affecting an estimated 8.3 percent of the population.
Then, in 1989, the country became the first country in the Middle East to launch the hepatitis B vaccine program, eight years after the first vaccine was approved in the United States.
Although vaccination of infants and newborns in Saudi Arabia has been accompanied by a significant reduction in infection rate. According to the Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology has dropped to only 1.3%, hepatitis health is particularly prevalent in the country, especially in high-risk groups. There is a great danger to the public.
The Saudi Ministry of Health declared hepatitis the second-largest epidemic in 2007, with 9,000 cases this year. Medical experts say that as people get older, the number of people with liver disease will increase.
Dr. Faisal Abalkhel said that Saudi Arabia had implemented several programs designed to improve diagnosis, including premarital screening for hepatitis B and C and HIV.
“In Saudi Arabia, you can’t complete marriage documents without testing for hepatitis B and C.”
He pointed out that hepatitis screening and treatment are being provided free of cost to locals and foreigners alike at present.
“In Saudi Arabia, we are doing our best to meet the goals of the WHO,” he said.
He said the target was to make 90% of the disease diagnosed and 80% of patients treated by 2030.