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Towards Elimination of Hepatitis of WHO

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  • Publish Date:Publish Date:2019/07/25

Towards Elimination of Hepatitis of WHO

Hepatitis B and C are highly risky factors leading to live cancer in Taiwan. According to record of cancer by Health Promotion Administration in 2016, 11,000 cases have been diagnosed with liver cancer which about 80% among them are infected by hepatitis B or C. To echo World Hepatitis Day on July 28 and the theme of Invest in Eliminating Hepatitis of WHO this year, the government promotes the prevention of both hepatitis B and C. Since 1986, the vaccination of hepatitis B for all newborns has been enforced that effectively intervenes the vertical route of infection from mother to child, allowing the next generation to avoid being infected by hepatitis B away from the suffering of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Regarding hepatitis C, the requirements of medication of hepatitis C have been relaxed to encourage all of these patients to receive treatment. It hopes to achieve in advance the goal of eliminating hepatitis of World Health Organization (WHO) in 2025.

Hepatitis B is the virus which infects most Taiwanese people and hepatitis C is in the second place. Both of them are main causes leading to chronic hepatitis and the death of liver cancer. Each year about 13,000 people die of chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Liver cancer is the second leading cause of death of cancer. Most liver diseases do not show significant symptoms that people are unalert and postpone to receive medical care, regrettably causing ineffective treatment.

The First Step of Hepatitis Prevention: Hepatitis Screening

Through screening of hepatitis B and C, it allows for early diagnosis and appropriate treatment and effectively intervenes the triple of hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Therefore, screening is the foremost threshold to intervene the development of disease. In terms of telephone survey by Health Promotion Administration in 2018, the result of health behavior of interviewing 3,703 people aged from 25 to 64 shows that 30% of population have not received screening of hepatitis B and C through blood testing.

Health Promotion Administration advocates that the public makes the most use of the screening resources of the government to navigate health. For those aged 45 or over, they could receive the screening of hepatitis B and C in terms of preventive health care services for adults. This year it extends to indigenous people aged from 40 to 60. In the future, the age limit under screening would be modified in accordance with financial conditions. Currently, there are about 6,000 medical institutions nationwide to provide preventive health care services for adults and the screening of hepatitis B and C. The list of medical institutions could be found linking to the website of Health Promotion Administration and it requires to make an inquiry to medical institutions about business hours and registration fees in advance.

The Second Step of Prevention of Hepatitis: Early Treatment of Those Tested Positive

To prevent hepatitis and accompanying diseases, it requires early screening with treatment in advance. The result of survey by Health Promotion Administration also suggests that 30% of population who are infected with hepatitis B and C do not receive medical care. Among them, 56.2% point out that medical care is not needed while no symptoms reveal. 15.7% do not know that they should go to see a doctor. Health Promotion Administration advices that over 50% of people with hepatitis C would have chronic hepatitis. Among them, 20% would lead to have liver cirrhosis. 3% to 5% with liver cirrhosis would get liver cancer each year. The public should receive medical care as early as possible if tested positive and never ignore health effect hepatitis causes.

The Third Step of Prevention of Hepatitis: Following Prescription with Regular tracking and Treatment

After the oral antiviral drugs emerge, the novel medication of hepatitis C not only shows low side effects, simple usage and short treatment period from eight to 12 weeks but also reaches the cure rate over 97%. The treatment of hepatitis C has been now included within benefit package of National Health Insurance. People must take the opportunity to receive the tracking and treatment in accordance with suggestions of physicians.

To Develop Good Habits, to Protect Liver and to Love Health

Health Promotion Administration reminds people of tips for protecting liver: 1. to avoid risky factors such as needle sharing, 2. to keep healthy conditions including healthy diet and lots of exercises, 3. to avoid alcohol to prevent fatty liver and alcoholic hepatitis. These are crucial principles to protect liver on a daily basis. The old saying often indicates that the life would be colorful as if healthy liver exists. To prevent hepatitis, the government spares no effort to implement screening and treatment. Meanwhile, the public takes action from daily life. It requires the joint effort to eliminate hepatitis.