Global Hepatitis Report 2024

Global Hepatitis Report 2024

Context: The World Health Organization (WHO) recently published the Global Hepatitis Report 2024, which underscores Indias substantial challenge with viral hepatitis, especially Hepatitis B and C infections.

Key Findings for India:
Prevalence in India: India bears a significant burden of viral hepatitis with high numbers of infections.
Hepatitis B Infections Estimated 2.9 crore people living with Hepatitis B in India.
Hepatitis C Infections Estimated 0.55 crore people living with Hepatitis C in India.
New Cases Reported in 2022: Over 50,000 new Hepatitis B cases and 1.4 lakh new Hepatitis C cases reported.
Hepatitis-related Deaths in 2022 Viral hepatitis caused the deaths of 1.23 lakh people in India.
Drivers of Infections: Infections are transmitted through various means, including mother-tochild transmission.
Transmission Modes : Includes unsafe blood transfusions, contact with infected blood, and needle-sharing.
Mother-to-Child Transmission: (Hepatitis B) Despite blood safety advances, this remains a primary mode of infection.
Diagnosis and Treatment Coverage: Only 2.4% of Hepatitis B cases and 28% of Hepatitis C cases are diagnosed in India.
Treatment Coverage: Treatment coverage is low, with 0% for Hepatitis B and 21% for Hepatitis C cases treated.
Availability of Affordable Medicines: Despite affordable generic medicines, treatment coverage remains inadequate.
Barriers to Improving Outcomes: Limited reach and utilization of the National Viral Hepatitis Control Program in India.
Program Improvement: Expanding access to affordable diagnostics and treatment services is crucial. Treating all diagnosed individuals promptly is essential to reduce health consequences.

Global Key Findings:

Mortality Trends: Viral hepatitis caused about 1.3 million deaths globally in 2022, equivalent to tuberculosis. Hepatitis B accounted for 83% of these deaths, while hepatitis C accounted for 17%. The rising mortality indicates increased cases of hepatitis-related liver cancer and deaths.
Aspect Details
New Infections Decline: New viral hepatitis infections decreased from 2.5 million in 2019 to 2.2 million in 2022.
Prevalence:  Globally, an estimated 304 million people had hepatitis B and C in 2022. WHO estimates 254 million with hepatitis B and 50 million with hepatitis C in 2022. Children account for 12% of the burden, especially for hepatitis B.
Barriers to Scaling Up Testing and Treatment: Limited funding and centralization hinder the expansion of testing services.
Some countries do not procure affordable hepatitis medicines, leading to high costs.
Patent-related challenges restrict access to affordable hepatitis C medicines in certain nations.

Way Forward:
Treating approximately 40 million individuals with hepatitis B and curing 30 million with hepatitis C by 2026 is vital to restore progress towards elimination.
Efforts must focus on reaching high-risk populations affected by viral hepatitis through targeted interventions.
Integrating hepatitis services into primary healthcare settings can enhance access for individuals from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.
Enhance the National Viral Hepatitis Control Program by augmenting funding, expanding its scope, and improving coordination among stakeholders. Prioritize early diagnosis and prompt treatment initiation through the program to achieve elimination goals.

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