Global Hepatitis Crisis: India Ranks Second in Cases – WHO Report 2024

▴ Global Hepatitis Crisis
India reported 2.98 crore cases of hepatitis B and 55 lakh cases of hepatitis C in 2022, revealing the magnitude of the problem within the country.

In a recent report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), alarming statistics have emerged regarding the global burden of hepatitis, with India ranking second in the number of cases after China in 2022. Hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver, poses significant health risks and can lead to severe complications, including liver cirrhosis and cancer.

According to the WHO’s 2024 Global Hepatitis Report, 254 million individuals worldwide were living with hepatitis B, and 50 million with hepatitis C in 2022. In India alone, there were approximately 3.5 crore cases of hepatitis B and C combined, representing a substantial portion of the global disease burden.

Key Findings from the WHO Report:

1. Prevalence in India: India reported 2.98 crore cases of hepatitis B and 55 lakh cases of hepatitis C in 2022, revealing the magnitude of the problem within the country.

2. Global Disease Burden: China accounted for the highest number of hepatitis cases, with 8.3 crore infections, followed by India with 3.5 crore cases, representing 11.6% of the global disease burden.

3. Impact on Mortality: Hepatitis is identified as the second leading infectious cause of death globally, resulting in approximately 1.3 million deaths per year, equivalent to tuberculosis-related deaths.

4. Types of Hepatitis: There are five main strains of the hepatitis virus (types A, B, C, D, and E), each differing in transmission modes, severity, and geographical distribution. Hepatitis B and C are particularly concerning due to their potential to cause chronic disease, liver cirrhosis, and liver cancer.

5. Mortality Trends: The WHO highlighted a concerning trend of increasing deaths from viral hepatitis, emphasizing the urgent need for improved diagnosis and treatment.

Implications and Recommendations: Despite global efforts to combat hepatitis, the WHO report highlights significant gaps in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, leading to rising mortality rates. WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus emphasized the critical need to prioritize hepatitis interventions to save lives and reverse current mortality trends.

Key Actions Outlined in the Report:

- Expanded Access to Testing and Diagnostics: Efforts are needed to increase accessibility and affordability of testing services to ensure early detection and treatment initiation.

- Equitable Treatment Policies: Shifting from policies to implementation for equitable access to treatment is crucial to reach underserved populations.

- Strengthening Primary Care: Investing in primary care prevention efforts can play a pivotal role in reducing the incidence of hepatitis and associated complications.

- Improved Data Utilization: Enhancing data collection and analysis is essential for targeted interventions and resource allocation.

- Community Engagement: Engaging affected communities and civil society can foster awareness and advocacy for hepatitis prevention and treatment.

The WHO’s 2024 Global Hepatitis Report highlights the urgent need for coordinated global action to address the escalating burden of hepatitis, particularly in countries like India. Efforts to expand access to testing, treatment, and prevention services, coupled with community engagement and policy reform, are essential steps towards achieving the goal of ending the hepatitis epidemic by 2030. By prioritizing hepatitis interventions, we can save lives and mitigate the devastating impact of this disease on individuals and communities worldwide.

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Sunny Parayan

Hey there! I'm Sunny, a passionate writer with a strong interest in the healthcare domain! When I'm not typing on my keyboard, I watch shows and listen to music. I hope that through my work, I can make a positive impact on people's lives by helping them live happier and healthier.

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