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National Action Plan on Hepatitis C to be ready by Year-end

On the occasion of World Hepatitis Day, Union Health Minister JP Nadda said that Government is committed to ensuring that there is no discrimination against Hepatitis patients

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Government is committed to ensuring that there is no discrimination on the basis of a patient suffering from Hepatitis and a National Action Plan on Hepatitis would be ready by the year-end, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister JP Nadda said on World Hepatitis Day. 

On World Haptitis Day ( July 28), addressing the 4th National Technical Consultation on Viral Hepatitis he said, “ The Government is working on the National Action Plan for Hepatitis C which shall be completed by December, 2017 and will be rolled out subsequently next year. The entire funding for this shall be provided by the Government of India. 

World Heptatis Day_0.jpgNadda assured the participants that the recommendations of the consultation process will be implemented. He further emphasised on the need for prevention of Hepatitis infection and highlighted the increase in immunisation coverage that is aimed to increase 90 percent by 2018. The Health Minister informed that the Government is planning to bring out notification for screening Hepatitis C and is planning to implement it till the district level. He stressed on the importance of prevention, screening and surveillance. 

CK Mishra, Health Secretary raised the issue of importance of vaccination for Hepatitis B at birth. He further highlighted the gains through Mission Indradhanush in coverage of unreached population. “As cost of treatment has relatively come down, it has been possible to treat more people,” he added. Mishra also drew attention to ‘safe injection practices’ which every health facility and hospitals need to follow. Equally important is the issue of awareness regarding the disease, its prevention and treatment, he said. 

This World Hepatitis Day, the Indian Society for Clinical Research (ISCR) called for a concerted push for in-depth research into hepatitis, to address the increasing burden of this group of infectious diseases
 
World Hepatitis Day is observed on July 28 each year, to increase global awareness of viral hepatitis (a viral inflammation of the liver), and to mobilize a push for better access to treatment improved prevention programs and government action. The theme for this year’s iteration is “ELIMINATE HEPATITIS”, which emphasizes the drive to implement englishthe global health strategy on hepatitis for 2016-2021. A major focus area for this is treatment, including new drugs and therapies for people with chronic hepatitis. According to the Indian Society for Clinical Research, this goal can be achieved, but a lot more effort needs to be made in terms of hepatitis clinical research, particularly in India which carries a high burden of this disease group. According to the WHO, each year Hepatitis causes around 410,000 deaths in South East Asia, including India. It is also a major cause of liver cancer and cirrhosis.

“Given the huge disease burden India carries, it is crucial for us to scale-up clinical research for many of our public health challenges, including hepatitis,” said Dr Chirag Trivedi, President, ISCR.

On World Hepatitis Day, WHO is calling on countries to continue to translate their commitments into increased services to eliminate hepatitis. This week, WHO has also added a new generic treatment to its list of WHO-prequalified hepatitis C medicines to increase access to therapy, and is promoting prevention through injection safety: a key factor in reducing hepatitis B and C transmission.

"It is encouraging to see countries turning commitment into action to tackle hepatitis." said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. "Identifying interventions that have a high impact is a key step towards eliminating this devastating disease. Many countries have succeeded in scaling-up the hepatitis B vaccination. Now we need to push harder to increase access to diagnosis and treatment."

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