Sunday, January 26, 2020
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Viral hepatitis more deadly than HIV/AIDS, TB, says WHO

World Health Organization Logo, Viral hepatitis

Some months ago information at hand says Tuberculosis kills more than HIV/AIDS, and now, viral hepatitis has a more severe death rate compare to HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (TB). A new study by scientists confirmed this discovery over rising global deaths connected to viral hepatitis. In the study, mortality has risen beyond 60 per cent in the last 20 years relatively due to the sporadic increase in world population.

Based on the above revelation, the World Health Organisation (WHO) thus called on countries and organisations to expand vaccination programmes, focus on preventing mother-to-child transmission of Hepatitis B and increase access to treatment for Hepatitis B and C, to help ensure these targets were met.   

In May 2016, a strategic plan was put forward by the WHO which includes a reduction in cases of Hepatitis B and C by 30 per cent by 2020, together with drastic reduction in mortality rate.

According to this study, viral hepatitis is one of the leading killers across the globe, with a death toll surpassing that of HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis (TB).

The WHO estimates that hepatitis infections and their complications led to 1.45 million deaths in 2013, despite the available vaccines and treatments for the infection.

Likewise, the data indicate that there were 1.2 million HIV/AIDS-related deaths in 2014, while TB led to 1.5 million deaths. However, deaths from diseases such as TB and malaria have reduced, the world body said.

Information from WHO estimates that worldwide, 400 million people are living with Hepatitis B or C and between 130 to 150 million people globally have protracted  or chronic Hepatitis C infection. The study reveals that Hepatitis causes 80 per cent of liver cancer deaths globally.

Hepatitis is an infection of the liver which brings about the presence of inflammatory cells in the tissue of the organ. Dr. Graham Cooke of Imperial College London described the findings as surprising.

Dr. Graham said, “Although there are efficacious treatments and vaccines for viral hepatitis, there is very little money invested in bringing these to patients when compared to malaria, HIV/AIDS and TB.

We have tools at our disposal to handle this disease — we have vaccines to treat hepatitis A and B and we have new treatments for C. Nevertheless, the cost of new medicines is beyond the reach of any country —rich or poor.”

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