Dhaka, Bangladesh
Hepatitis must be eliminated

Editorial

Hepatitis must be eliminated

The dreadful disease hepatitis is spreading throughout Bangladesh. According to an information revealed quite some time back by the Hepatology Society, about ten million people in Bangladesh were infected with hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus. The number was really prodigious and meanwhile it is progressing steadily. We are shuddered to think that such an enormous number of people in the country are carrying hepatitis B or C virus. Thousands of people are living with this ‘silent killer’ unawares. According to a study conducted previously by the Hepatology Society, an organisation of doctors, the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection was 5.1 per cent and C virus infection 0.2 per cent in 2018. It means that five in every 100 adults are carrying HBV, indicating that nearly one crore adults are suffering from infections. Hepatitis is an inflammation of liver and viruses are the root of hepatitis. The virus infection may lead to liver cirrhosis. The study further revealed that prevalence of HBV is twice as dominant among males as females. It also shows that younger people ranging from 18 to 30 years are mostly affected by the virus. The incubation period of the virus may be prolonged without the knowledge of the victims. The nature of the disease is so perilous that if one family member has this virus, then others are likely to be affected as it is related to blood. The virus spreads from pregnant mother to child. Blood transfusion may also be fatal, because blood collected from unknown drug addicts may cause infection. Blood of regular donors may not be taken as safe always, because there are people among them who are either drug addicts or already infected. The small number of blood banks we have in the country must be always careful to do things by the book when they collect blood from donors. The treatment of this disease is very expensive and many a family finds it too difficult to bear the high cost of treatment. As the prognosis of the disease is not good, early detection is necessary because the progress of the disease can be controlled if detected early. If pregnant women carrying the virus can be detected earlier and treated accordingly, the virus will not spread among children, opine the experts. Government should run free tests at all health clinics and hospitals across the country to stop the spread of the virus and also provide free treatment before it is too late. Individuals and organisations must unite and work together to eliminate hepatitis and find the missing millions to get them tested for hepatitis.

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