Nagaland health and family welfare minister S. Pangnyu Phom on Friday appealed to the people of the state to invest in eliminating Hepatitis.
Phom said Hepatitis virus has been recognised as a major public health problem in India.
He was speaking at the observation of World Hepatitis Day-cum-roll out of Hepatitis C treatment at Nagaland Health Authority, Kohima.
‘Let us join the cause to help people, stop ignorance and neglect of viral Hepatitis, share information about it, educate ourselves and others to learn the risks of viral Hepatitis, access testing and treatment services,” he appealed.
The minister said rolling out Hepatitis C treatment marked the beginning of India’s initiative towards eliminating the diseases as a public health threat.
He said the state government, under the ambit of the National Health Mission (NHM), will make all efforts to expand the reach and coverage of testing and management of Hepatitis C treatment to the most peripheral level.
“Our state has successfully demonstrated their dedication in controlling reproductive and child health and communicable diseases, and now we need to replicate such attention to address viral Hepatitis,” Phom said.
He assured that lifelong treatment for Hepatitis B will also be provided under National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme of NHM.
The minister added initially, 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 pointed out that healthcare workers are at an increased risk of acquiring Hepatitis B infection in comparison to the general population.
Hence, administering Hepatitis B vaccine to the risk group has been taken up, he said.
Phom urged the state medical fraternity to execute the programme sincerely and to make sure that no deserving beneficiaries are left out from availing the benefit, specially from the rural areas.
He also called upon all the citizens of the state to extend their cooperation and support to make the Hepatitis elimination programmes successful.
Senior nodal officer, National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme, Dr Vezokholii Theyo said viral Hepatitis is one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for 1.34 million death per year which is equal to death caused HIV/AIDS virus, TB or malaria.
Hepatitis B and C are causes 80 per cent of liver cancer cases in the world, she said.
She said viral Hepatitis is not found only in one location or among one set of people.
Theyo said 80 to 90 per cent people living with Hepatitis B and C are not aware of their status which can result in the real possibility of developing fatal liver disease at some point and in some cases, unknowingly transmitting the infection to others.
With the availability of effective vaccines and treatments for Hepatitis B and a cure for Hepatitis C, the elimination of viral Hepatitis, she added.