Welcome to your round-up of everything happening in the NOhep world! Read NOhep News in full here, or catch up with the headlines below. If you want to receive future editions of NOhep news, sign up to our movement here.
Our supporter spotlight this month is Kiiza Alexander, a NOhep Visionary and the executive director of Save Your Liver Uganda. He is passionate about advocating for hepatitis B elimination, ensuring his message is reaching rural Ugandans. Read on to find out about his inspiring work and how it’s making a difference.
Our amazing supporters have been busy fighting for elimination this month, holding several screening and vaccination camps – we’ve included some great photos for you to see!
This month, we’ve seen new viral hepatitis treatment centres being introduced in West Bengal, India, a call for the expansion of hepatitis screening in the U.S, and a World Health Organization report identifying China as the country facing the world’s biggest hepatitis C epidemic. We’ve also included an exciting announcement from PRIME who have recently joined the NOhep world – read on to find out more.
In rural Uganda, many people believe myths and incorrect information about hepatitis. Information is all too often only available in English making it inaccessible to some communities. Kiiza Alexander works to change that by attending community festivals, church functions and many other public gatherings to reach groups and educate them about hepatitis in their own language.
From appearing on television and radio shows in Uganda to encouraging people to take the hepatitis B vaccination, this NOhep Visionary is keen to make elimination a reality!
Leading healthcare education and research company PRIME® have joined the fight for a #NOhep world by releasing a new, accessible toolkit designed to help medical professionals and hepatitis C patients work together to ensure testing, treatment, and follow-up programmes work for patients – even those from the hardest-to-reach groups. Find out more and download the toolkit, which has sections for both practitioners and patients, here: http://bit.ly/2kGz10H
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force wants more people screened for hepatitis C
Over the past decade, the number of hepatitis C cases has been increasing in the USA as a result of the ongoing opioid epidemic. Evidence suggests that there is a link between increased injection drug use and rising hepatitis C infections. From 2010 to 2015, the number of hepatitis C infections tripled.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended that clinicians screen all adults between the ages of 18 and 79 for hepatitis C, regardless of their risk level for contracting the disease. They also advise that those who are outside of this age range, but at high risk of infection, are screened for the virus.
“Today, more people are infected with hepatitis C than there were a decade ago, but there are now better treatments available,” says Task Force Chair Dr Douglas Owens. “The evidence now shows more people can benefit from screening.”
China has the world’s biggest hepatitis C epidemic
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that China has the world’s biggest hepatitis C problem.
China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reported 21,419 new cases of hepatitis C in June alone, and the number of cases in the country is on the rise. In 2018, 219,375 new cases were added to the growing list of hepatitis C infections – this is 43 per cent more than in 2010.
Accounting for more than half of the world’s annual liver cancer fatalities caused by viral hepatitis, China now has a serious public health concern to respond to. WHO claims that the use of ‘unsterile medical injections which are often administered for unnecessary reasons’ is one cause of the epidemic. For example, 69 dialysis patients were infected in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, primarily through unclean medical practices.
New viral hepatitis treatment centres in West Bengal
In India, 40 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B, and six to 12 million people with hepatitis C. To help address this serious public health concern, the West Bengal Health Department is setting up viral hepatitis treatment centres in 15 government-B run hospitals and some medical college hospitals in the state.
By helping patients detect the virus early through proper screening, projects like this can play a significant role in increasing hepatitis diagnosis rates and access to treatment – an important step in the fight for elimination.