Hepatitis: Management cannot wait any longer

More than 124,000 Africans die each year from the consequences of undetected and untreated hepatitis. And our country has nearly 211,545 people infected with viral hepatitis

Like the international community, our country celebrated World Hepatitis Day yesterday with the international theme: “hepatitis can’t wait any longer”. At the national level, the chosen theme is: “the management of hepatitis cannot wait any longer”.

The ceremony took place at the House of Seniors in Bamako, under the chairmanship of the Secretary General of the Ministry of Health and Social Development, Aly Diop. It was in the presence of the representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr José Kurula.

The event was marked by hepatitis screening tests by the organizers. The day also offered the opportunity to the various actors to discuss about this terrible disease. In his intervention, the representative of the WHO, Dr José Kurula, pointed out that in Africa, hepatitis is a silent epidemic, as more than 90 million people live with this disease on the continent, which represents 26% of the world total.

Also, more than 124,000 Africans die each year from the consequences of undetected and untreated hepatitis, continued Dr José Kurula, before specifying that about 4.5 million African children under the age of five are infected with chronic hepatitis B, which reflects 70% of the global burden in this age group.

“The global target of less than 1% incidence of hepatitis B in children under 5 has been reached, but the African region is lagging behind with 2.5%”, warned Dr José Kurula . Continuing his intervention, the WHO representative will point out that only 14 countries in the region are implementing the hepatitis B birth vaccine. And among those infected, 9 out of 10 have never been tested due to ‘a lack of awareness and limited access to testing and treatment, he said.

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For Dr. Kurula, there are many promising developments in the field of hepatitis. With the launch of the first global hepatitis strategy in 2016 and increased advocacy in recent years, political will is starting to translate into action. Also, hepatitis medications have become much more affordable with such low prices per patient for 12 weeks treatment.

The Secretary General of the Ministry of Health and Social Development stressed the relevance of the national theme. Because, he said, in 2021, Mali had nearly 211,545 people infected with viral hepatitis, or 10% of the population, according to the 2020 report of the sectoral cell for the fight against HIV / AIDS, the tuberculosis and viral hepatitis.

Aly Diop also assured that our country is making the fight against viral hepatitis a national priority. These actions are part of the implementation of the 2021-2025 Integrated National Strategic Plan to fight HIV / AIDS, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis. This plan aims, by 2025, to reduce the morbidity linked to viral hepatitis by 50%.

Baya TRAORE

Source: L’ESSOR

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