Elimination of Hepatitis is Possible – Professor Lydia Aziato
Elimination of Hepatitis: Promising Signs in the Battle Against Hepatitis
Professor Lydia Aziato, the distinguished Vice Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), has underscored the potential for achieving the elimination of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, attributing this optimism to the availability of highly effective vaccines and treatments.
A Call for Enhanced Awareness and Accessibility
While acknowledging these positive developments, Professor Aziato emphasized the critical importance of heightened awareness and understanding of these diseases, coupled with improved accessibility to affordable diagnostic and treatment solutions.
World Hepatitis Day Commemoration in Ho
Delivering her insights at a significant event in Ho commemorating World Hepatitis Day, Professor Aziato spoke passionately about the urgent need to address hepatitis-related challenges.
This event, jointly organized by the Ho Teaching Hospital (HTH) and the Ghana Association for the Study of Liver and Digestive Diseases (GASLIDD), centered on the theme “One Life, One Liver.”
Global Goals and Urgent Action
Professor Aziato highlighted the integration of viral hepatitis into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the recent adoption of a comprehensive global hepatitis strategy.
She cautioned that without immediate and concerted efforts, fatalities would persist, and the hepatitis epidemic would continue its concerning trajectory.
Targeted Measures for Prevention and Treatment
Drawing attention to significant gaps in vaccine coverage in specific regions, Professor Aziato stressed the potential for prevention through expanded vaccine deployment and other effective strategies such as safe injections, secure blood transfusions, harm reduction, and the availability of therapies for Hepatitis B and C.
Transitioning Priorities in a Post-COVID Era
As the global health emergency of COVID-19 wanes, Professor Aziato called for a shift in focus towards achieving a world free of hepatitis and meeting the ambitious global targets set for 2030.
Progress Indicators and Future Prospects
With a positive tone, Professor Aziato noted the ongoing success in reducing Hepatitis B infections among children as a testament to the feasibility of continued progress.
Immediate Imperatives: Simplified Care and Comprehensive Treatment
Highlighting pressing needs, Professor Aziato stressed the urgency for streamlined primary care services for viral hepatitis.
She advocated for a 90 percent diagnosis rate among individuals with hepatitis B and C, comprehensive treatment access for pregnant women with chronic hepatitis B, and birth vaccines to prevent transmission to their infants.
Striving for Higher Cure Rates
Furthermore, Professor Aziato called for stringent measures to ensure that 80 percent of diagnosed individuals receive effective treatment or cure in accordance with newly expanded eligibility criteria.
Bold Targets: WHO’s Vision for Hepatitis Elimination
Professor Yaw Asante Awuku, President of GASLIDD, shared the ambitious goal of the World Health Organization (WHO) to eliminate hepatitis by 2030.
He revealed that a recent joint screening initiative by HTH and GASLIDD identified 10 percent of participants testing positive for Hepatitis and 2 percent for Hepatitis C.
Stepping Up Vaccination Efforts
Notably, Professor Awuku highlighted the success of the vaccination campaign, with 600 individuals receiving crucial vaccination against the hepatitis virus as part of these dedicated endeavors.