Monday, February 17

West Bengal: State run hospitals to have antenatal screening facilities for hepatitis B

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The state government run hospitals and will soon have facility-based antenatal checking for hepatitis B in order to prevent mother to child transmission of the viral infection. This is one of the various measures the state health department is taking up to combat hepatitis burden in sync with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) target to eliminate hepatitis by 2030.

“We are on way of setting up anti-natal screening facilities for hepatitis B in all government run hospitals across the state. This will enable us ensure us to take up interventional measures in case the woman is detected to be positive,” said a health department official at the side lines of a dissemination meeting on hepatitis organised by Liver Foundation West Bengal (LFWB) on Thursday.

One of the modes of Hepatitis B infection is mother to child transmission. Vaccination however can prevent the newborn from getting infected.

The government has already set to an apex treatment centre at IPGMER (SSKM) and a model treatment centre at North Bengal medical College for both hepatitis B and C. 200 patients have already enrolled for treatment at these centres. Five more such dedicated units for hepatitis care are expected to come up in about a month, one each at School of Tropical Medicine Kolkata. Midnapore Medical College, School of Medicine and Sagar Dutta Medical College, Darjeeling District Hospital and Coochbehar Medical College,

“We also need to take the awareness level down to every health worker so that they understand the disease burden. This will help in tackling the hepatitis menace to a great extent,” said Dr Ajay Chakraborty, direction health services.

WHO representatives who were part of the dissemination programme stressed on the importance of more documentation and data on hepatitis prevalence in the country.

“Need for a robust data is the same for the state. LFWB did conduct a study in Birbhum and found a prevalence of 4%. But due to resource issues we have not been able to extend such study in other districts,” said Abhijit Chowdhury, LFWB secretary.

Among other activities the foundation has already touched down to two remote villages in two districts of Purulia and Birbhum to screen hepatitis and also support the treatment of those infected.

“We intend to adopt a village in each 23 districts of the state that lacks health care access. This is part of mission to reach to the unreachable. So we have 21 more districts to go,” said Partha Sarathi Mukherjee, director LFWB.

The foundation has also extended its work in Arunachal Pradesh and has tied up with Tomo Riba Institute if Health and Medical Sciences. Doctors Mika Umpo and Anoop Dev from the institute were also part of the dissemination.

 

Source: Times of India

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