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Global Hepatitis Report 2024 UPSC NOTE

 What are the findings in the Global Hepatitis Report 2024?

  • As per the report, the disease is the second leading infectious cause of death globally.

  • With 1.3 million deaths per year, the same as tuberculosis, a top infectious killer

  • New data from 187 countries show that the estimated number of deaths from viral hepatitis increased from 1.1 million in 2019 to 1.3 million in 2022. 

  • Of these, 83% were caused by hepatitis B, and 17% by hepatitis C. 

  • Every day, there are 3,500 people dying globally due to hepatitis B and C infections

  • Half the burden of chronic hepatitis B and C infections is among people aged 30-54 years old, with 12% among children under 18 years of age.

  • Men account for 58% of all cases.

Why does India have such a high disease load of hepatitis B and C?

  • Doctors attribute the large number of cases to several reasons including high population density.

  • Lack of awareness to symptoms, screening and treatment and not adhering to or having access to good hygiene practices.

  • Dr. Sudeep Khanna, senior consultant, gastroenterologist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, explained that one of the major reasons for the increasing burden of hepatitis in India is the high prevalence of chronic viral hepatitis B and C infections

  • These chronic infections often remain asymptomatic for decades.

  • Furthermore, the lack of widespread screening programmes and limited awareness about the importance of hepatitis testing contribute to a significant proportion of cases going undiagnosed

  • Undiagnosed cases continue to transmit the infection.

  • The physician added that another important factor contributing to the rising number of hepatitis cases.

  • Its the increasing prevalence of non-viral forms of the disease, such as alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

  • Doctors note that the high consumption of alcohol, particularly in urban areas, has led to a significant increase in ALD cases

  • Additionally, the rapid rise in obesity and metabolic disorders.

  • Coupled with sedentary lifestyles and dietary changes, has fuelled an epidemic of NAFLD in both urban and rural populations. 

  • These conditions can progress to more severe forms of liver disease further compounding the burden of hepatitis in India.

Is the increasing prevalence of non-viral forms of the disease, like alcoholic liver disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, adding to the burden?

  • Hepatitis B can be prevented through vaccination and the report highlights the need to ensure coverage.

  • While hepatitis C is curable with medicines

  • In India, the numbers of deaths due to viral hepatitis aren’t comparable to tuberculosis, say experts, adding that cost of treatment is also

among the lowest as India makes the generic version of the drugs. 

  • The government’s viral hepatitis control programme offers the vaccine to high-risk adults such as healthcare workers. 

  • Treatment for both hepatitis B and C is available under the programme

  • With an initial rollout of the hepatitis B vaccine in certain cities and districts of India in 2002-2003.

  • The Indian Government included Chronic Hepatitis B infection (HBV) vaccine in the childhood immunisation programme in 2011-12.

Way forward

  • Mother to child transmission is responsible for most new infections, and in India.

  • Elimination of hepatitis B requires extensive treatment coverage.

  • Immunising and protecting every newborn and ending any discrimination against patients.

  • The report cautions that despite the availability of affordable generic viral hepatitis medicines, many countries fail to procure them at lower prices. 

  • Pricing disparities persist both across and within WHO regions, with many countries paying above global benchmarks.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Global Hepatitis Report 2024 UPSC NOTE
Global Hepatitis Report 2024 UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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