Need national action plan on hepatitis with year: Official

New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) There was a need for National Action Plan on Viral Hepatitis (NAP-VH) to come up within the next 6 to 12 months, Union Health Secretary C.K Mishra said on Friday.

Assuring that the government was committed for proper healthcare of citizens, he said: “Antiviral drugs are likely to be included in the essential drug list to be provided free.”

He was speaking at the third national technical consultation meeting on hepatitis here at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), organised in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Population prevalence of chronic Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection in India is around 1 per cent. Approximately 12 million people have chronic hepatitis C infection.

However, there are pockets of areas where prevalence of Hepatitis C has been observed to be relatively higher in Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram.

Chronic HCV infection accounts for 12-32 per cent of liver cancer and 10-20 per cent cases of cirrhosis in India.

Secretary, Health Research Saumya Swaminathan stressed on the importance of screening and surveillance, the need to standardise hepatitis tests in the country and provide safe blood and water.

–IANS

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