Government committed to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030; Nadda

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Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda has said that the Government was committed to work towards elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030.

He said this while launching the National Viral Hepatitis Control Program mark the World Hepatitis Day, 2018, in New Delhi. He also released the Operational Guidelines for National Viral Hepatitis Control Program, National Laboratory Guidelines for Viral Hepatitis Testing and National Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Viral Hepatitis. Shri Manoj Sinha, MoS (Independent Charge), Ministry of Communication also released the Commemorative Stamp at the occasion.

Ministers of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Anupriya Patel, along with Preeti Sudan, Secretary (Health), Ananta Narayan Nanda, Secretary, Dept. of Posts and Dr S Venkatesh, DGHS were present at the launch

Stating that there has been a paradigm shift in designing the health programmes, Nadda said that they were now designed at the ground level and all stakeholders are taken into the consideration. “We are now making sure that the last person gets the benefit out of it,” he said.

Nadda further said that the Ministry has already launched a campaign to end TB by 2025, five years ahead of global target. He said that the Government now has more than 1100 CBNAAT machines for rapid diagnosis of TB and provides daily regimen with fixed dose combinations. He further said that the programme has also initiated active case finding to screen more TB patients.

He also stated ” the government has launched the ‘Test and Treat Policy for HIV’ wherein as soon as a person is tested and found to be positive, he will be provided with ART irrespective of his CD count or clinical stage. Adding further, Shri Nadda said that the government has also launched Rotavirus vaccine, Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV), and the Measles-Rubella (MR), Pneumonia vaccine and one thing that was remaining was Hepatitis, today with this launch we will be offering free drugs and diagnostics for hepatitis B & C. “This initiative will provide laboratory testing and management of viral hepatitis with a de-centralized approach,” Shri Nadda said.

Ashwini Kumar Choubey said that awareness is a very important component of the program. As disease burden is very significant in India, this will help us to find the disease carriers and towards their diagnosis and treatment. “This exemplifies India’s commitment to providing universal health coverage and meeting SDG targets for the country,” Choubey said.

Anupriya Patel stated that National Viral Control Program marks the beginning of the nation’s journey to control viral hepatitis thereby reducing mortality and morbidity attributed to it. “It is envisaged that this program will reach large number of people possibly harbouring the infection, She said. She further added that integrating the intervention within the existing health systems framework under NHM rather than adopting a vertical approach will further complement our efforts in providing more comprehensive care till the grass root level.

National Viral Hepatitis Control Program

MoHFW has launched the ‘National Viral Hepatitis Control Program’, with the goal of ending viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 in the country. The aim of the initiative is to reduce morbidity and mortality due to viral hepatitis. The key strategies include preventive and promotive interventions with focus on awareness generation, safe injection practices and socio-cultural practices, sanitation and hygiene, safe drinking water supply, infection control and immunization; co-ordination and collaboration with different Ministries and departments; increasing access to testing and management of viral hepatitis; promoting diagnosis and providing treatment support for patients of hepatitis B &C through standardized testing and management protocols with focus on treatment of hepatitis B and C; building capacities at national, state, district levels and sub-district level up to Primary Health Centres (PHC) and health and wellness centres such that the program can be scaled up till the lowest level of the healthcare facility in a phased manner.

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