GIVINGTUESDAY ALL YEAR! Help to Empower Women and Improve Health Around the World! – Hepatitis
MCN Foundation is committed to improving access to healthcare information and education, globally, through MCN Learning. We will provide links to free courses and resources for healthcare providers as well as the general public every month on the anniversary of GivingTuesday.
“Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis. However, hepatitis is most often caused by a virus. The most common types of viral hepatitis are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.
Many people with hepatitis do not have symptoms and do not know they are infected. If symptoms occur with an acute infection, they can appear anytime from 2 weeks to 6 months after exposure. Symptoms of chronic viral hepatitis can take decades to develop. Symptoms of hepatitis may include: fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, grey-colored stools, joint pain, and jaundice
Hepatitis B is primarily spread when blood, semen, or certain other body fluids from a person infected with the Hepatitis B virus – even in microscopic amounts – enters the body of someone who is not infected.
Hepatitis C is spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus – even in microscopic amounts – enters the body of someone who is not infected
The World Health Organization (WHO) issued its first-ever global guidance on testing for chronic viral hepatitis B and C on February 16, 2017. WHO estimates that more than 300 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B or C worldwide. However, less than 5% of these people have been tested or are aware of their diagnosis. Viral hepatitis causes an estimated 1.4 million deaths worldwide each year.
A cure for hepatitis C is now available globally. Novel medicines, such as direct acting antivirals (DAA), cure more than 9 out of 10 people in just 12–24 weeks. About 1 million people worldwide have been cured through the use of DAA medicines. Effective long-term antiviral treatment is also available for people with chronic hepatitis B. In many countries, however, challenges remain in accessing these medicines.
According WHO, new guidelines recommend the use of rapid diagnostic tests for hard-to-reach populations, and targeted testing in groups most affected by hepatitis B or C. This includes people who inject drugs, people with HIV, children of mothers with hepatitis B or C infection, and people with symptoms or blood test results suggestive of viral hepatitis. The guidelines also recommend testing all health workers and offering hepatitis B vaccination.
The World Health Organization:
Testing and diagnosis of hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) infection is the gateway for access to both prevention and treatment services, and is a crucial component of an effective response to the hepatitis epidemic. Early identification of persons with chronic HBV or HCV infection enables them to receive the necessary care and treatment to prevent or delay progression of liver disease. Testing also provides an opportunity to link people to interventions to reduce transmission, through counselling on risk behaviours and provision of prevention commodities (such as sterile needles and syringes) and hepatitis B vaccination.
Resources for Healthcare Providers
Resources for the General Public
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