More than 4.5 lakh people in India were infected with Hepatitis B in the past five years, out of which nearly three lakh were from 10 states.
According to the data, Maharashtra ranks third with 31,128 Hepatitis B cases registered between July 2018 and September 2023, behind Rajasthan (39,059) and the topper, Madhya Pradesh (47,255).
Sasmit Patra, a Biju Janata Dal leader and a member of the Rajya Sabha, had sought details of the current status of hepatitis in India and the progress of the National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme (NVHCP) in the lower house on December 5.
Health officials have cited several reasons for Maharashtra having the third highest Hepatitis B cases, includes more number of people being screened, late diagnosis, lack of awareness, etc.
“Young adults are the highest consumers of street food, are socially and sexually active, and also are enthusiastic travellers, making them vulnerable to food-borne liver diseases like Hepatitis A and E, and sexually transmissible liver diseases like Hepatitis B and C. Adults with Hepatitis A and pregnant women with Hepatitis E are at higher risk of developing liver failure,” an official said.
Around 8.13 crore people have benefited since the implementation of the NVHCP in July 2018 and more than 2.74 lakh patients have received treatment for hepatitis. Around 4,800 ‘Master Trainers’ have been deployed around the country to provide training in diagnosis and treatment and monitoring for scaling up programme implementation.
Meanwhile, services for the diagnosis and treatment of viral hepatitis are available in all states and UTs. NVHCP has collaborated with existing programmes such as the National Programme for Surveillance of Viral Hepatitis (NPSVH), Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCHA+N), Universal Immunization Programme, National AIDS Control Programme, etc, for effective implementation of the programme.
“The programme has paperless data recording and reporting on NVHCP Management Information System for robust monitoring and evaluation. Till date, 978 treatment sites have been established across the country where preventive and treatment services are provided to the beneficiaries,” an official said.
A senior official from the state health department said that Hepatitis B and C are the two critical forms of viral hepatitis, causing inflammation, damage to the liver, and cancer at times. An estimated 6%-7% of the 11 crore population in Maharashtra is feared to be infected with Hepatitis B and 0.5%-1% with Hepatitis C.
Dr Sumir Dembla from VN Desai Hospital, Santacruz, said: “Many people are unaware of their status. They should be informed and told to take treatment. This way, the spread of hepatitis can be controlled.”
Hepatitis B cases in India
Hepatitis B cases in India