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Hepatitis continues to pose a significant public health concern in India

Our Bureau, Mumbai
Tuesday, June 7, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Hepatitis continues to pose a significant public health concern in India and to address the burden, support and strengthening national efforts are critical. These include increasing awareness of the disease and related health complications amongst the general population and combating associated stigma, which can be a contributing factor to low testing or diagnosis.

A conducive, stable and predictable policy environment supporting national health initiatives like the successful National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme (NVHCP) will go a long way in combating this challenge. Such integrated and focused efforts can help India take a step further towards the WHO’s goals to end the epidemics of viral HBV and HCV as public health concerns by 2030. 

Atanu Mitra, country general manager India, Molecular Diagnostics, Abbott said, "To tackle the challenge from hepatitis, it is important to ensure scaled access to screening, diagnostic testing and treatment. Abbott is raising awareness of the infection and scaling access to quality testing solutions from diagnostic screening to viral load testing. Our diagnostic advancements including qualitative assays with better sensitivity and specificity simplify the detection process, enabling early detection of HBV. This helps laboratories and doctors detect infectious cases, streamline the patient journey and enables appropriate, timely treatment and care".

Abbott is also working with various state governments like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Rajasthan to provide HBV and HCV Viral Load testing solutions under the Government of India’s National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme (NVHCP). We are also the technical partner for one of the largest Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme for hepatitis viral load testing in the state of Punjab.

"To strengthen efforts to eliminate India’s hepatitis burden, there is need to increase awareness and testing. We would urge people to consult their doctor for more information on the requisite testing requirements," he said. 

He further added, "India is taking considerable measures to work towards the UN Sustainable Development and WHO goals to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health concern by 2030. The Government of India’s National Virus Hepatitis Control Programme has been driving an integrated approach to disease prevention, control and management. This has led to acceleration in screening, diagnosis, treatment and counselling services especially for individuals in high-risk groups".

"Infection with hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and hepatitis C Virus (HCV) often go undiagnosed, owing to mild or unclear symptoms. The infection in most cases goes undetected until it has progressed to an advanced stage. Population screening and widescale testing are critical for timely hepatitis detection, especially as the infection can lead to more chronic complications including advanced liver diseases like cirrhosis or liver cancer. There is an urgent need to increase hepatitis awareness, enhance the current diagnostic standards and testing options available, thus streamlining the patient journey to enable better care. Hence, scaling quality diagnostic solutions and increasing access to quality testing is key to addressing the disease burden in India," said Mitra.


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