Vaccination, early detection key to prevent hepatitis cases: Experts

In the two-day annual conference ‘UPISGCON-2023’ of Uttar Pradesh Society of Gastroenterology Congress held here on Sunday, experts said that India is moving rapidly on the path of eliminating Hepatitis B and C.

    (Picture for representation)
(Picture for representation)

“WHO (World Health Organization) has set a target to reduce new hepatitis infections by 90% by 2030. We need to focus on some points including 100% hepatitis B vaccine coverage for all children at birth, which is between 70 to 80 percent in India. At present, and since there is no vaccine for hepatitis C, all patients have access to complete treatment,” said Dr. Manoj Kumar Sharma, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, New Delhi.

“Vaccination helped curb cases of smallpox, polio in our country. We need to do the same for hepatitis. Dr Sumit Rungta, HOD, Medical Gastroenterology at King George’s Medical University (KGMU), said, reduce the cases of hepatitis to such a level that it is practically no threat to the people in our country.

“The path to reducing hepatitis to harmless levels lies through early and universal detection of new cases and their comprehensive treatment,” said Dr. Rungta, who is also the organizing secretary of the conference.

Dr. Puneet Mehrotra, organizing chairman of the conference, said, “Blood banks are also a sensitive point when it comes to hepatitis. They need to adopt the highest quality screening methods such as Nucleic Acid Test (NAT) to prevent transmission of infected blood.

Doctors said the national strategy for viral hepatitis B and C focuses on strengthening existing preventive services and further expanding the coverage of diagnostic and treatment services to communities.

Several guest lectures, presentations and video sessions were organized during the conference by experts from all parts of the country.

Meanwhile, raising concerns over the consumption of street food, experts said, street food or fast food should be a taboo for everyone, but if you feel like eating it on the street near your office/home, then do it before actually eating it. Check some points.

“First of all I would say do not eat outside food. But if one is forced to do so, first check the hygiene at the food stall, see if they are using leftover food to prepare the dishes and also take care of the personal hygiene of the cook. Also see if they are using rotten vegetables. If these things are checked then you can try fast food but still the first priority is home-cooked or home-cooked food,” said Devesh Prakash Yadav, HOD of gastroenterology at the Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University.

Street food is known to cause vomiting, diarrhea or nausea. Dr Sumit Rungta, head of the department of medical gastroenterology at King George’s Medical University (KGMU), said they can cause problems if eaten even once, so the best thing is to avoid street food.

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