10 labs to be set up for testing viral Hepatitis

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New Delhi: At least 10 regional laboratories will be set up by the National Communicable Disease Centre (NCDC) for the surveillance of viral Hepatitis, a health ministry official said Monday.

"Ten regional laboratories will be set up by the NCDC for viral Hepatitis surveillance. This will help to know more about the disease outbreaks and provide lab support," said Lov Verma, secretary, department of health and family welfare.

He was attending a consultation meeting on 'Viral Hepatitis in India: Gaps, Challenges and Priorities' on the occasion of World Hepatitis Day.

Viral Hepatitis is a group of infectious diseases known as Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E affecting millions of people with acute, chronic and liver diseases.

"Hepatitis is a critical health problem and the situation in India is bad. India needs reliable information on the burden of viral Hepatitis for preventing and controlling measures," said Nata Menabde, representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in India.

WHO also called on all partners and stakeholders to make 'silent' epidemic of viral Hepatitis more visible and manageable.

India has over 40 million Hepatitis B affected patients (second only after China) and constitutes about 15 percent of the entire Hepatitis B patients in the world.

Tribal areas in India have high prevalence of Hepatitis B. Every year, nearly 6,00,000 patients die from this infection in India.

V.K. Subburaj, a health official said there was a need for coordination among various agencies to eradicate the viral Hepatitis.

"There is need to educate and aware people about the healthcare. Standardisation of blood bank practices and introduction of NAT is important for preventing blood transfusions related viral Hepatitis," Subburaj.

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