Every year, every July, we raise awareness about hepatitis; a chronic disease briefly described as the inflammation of the liver. Despite this, we are unable to eradicate it from the surface of earth, even though vaccines are available. There are five main types of hepatitis, namely A, B, C, D and E. However, the most prevalent ones across the world are the first three. Unfortunately, these are contagious and spread like wildfire which explains the figure of approximately 1.34 million deaths per year caused by the deadly disease. According to WHO, there has been a rise of 22% in the deaths caused by hepatitis since 2000. That’s a huge number!!! Let’s have a look at the causes and possible treatments for each type of chronic disease.
Causes and Treatment
In general, hepatitis is caused by virus and other infections, alcohol, drugs, toxins, ischemia (decreased oxygenation of the liver), metabolic disorders and autoimmune response. If we look into it more deeply, each type has its separate causes and treatments. Hepatitis A is transmitted by consumption of food or water contaminated by the fecal matter of a person infected by hepatitis A. There’s no major treatment for hepatitis A, generally it goes on its own (short term viral infection) and doctors mostly prescribe medicines to ease the symptoms. Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with infected blood, sharing personal items with the infected person, sharing needles, blood transfusions, and can also be passed on from infected mother to child during childbirth. As the case with hepatitis A, there’s no specific treatment rather medicines are prescribed to reduce the intensity of symptoms. In some cases, the acute infection can result in liver failure which requires liver transplant. The causes for hepatitis B and C are quite similar, majorly transmitted through contact with infected blood. In addition to this, one can get infected by unprotected sex and hared tattoo needles. The treatment for hepatitis C majorly incorporates use of direct action antiviral medications, which are effective to cure the virus.
Situation of hepatitis in Bangladesh
Many developing countries face increasing cases of the virus due to an underdeveloped health care system, less awareness among people and lack of hygiene. In 2017, it was estimated that the majority of the 10 million people in Bangladesh who carried hepatitis B, were not aware of it, putting others at a potential risk of catching the disease. In 2018, there was an outbreak of hepatitis E in the Chittagong city of the country. Around 178 people were infected in the Halishahar area and this number being significant put others at a potential risk. These cases just go on to prove the fact that hepatitis is in fact a common disease in Bangladesh. In particular, hepatitis B, C and E have significant cases each year. A majority of the patients suffer from weight loss and jaundice as the foremost symptoms. Vaccinations drives and awareness regarding hepatitis is needed to cater the increasing cases and bring down the number.
In 2020, Maya was able to facilitate close to 3000 individuals, responding to around 5000 hepatitis related queries. In 2021, Maya resolved around 1700 hepatitis related queries for 1100 individuals.
Maya and its role in hepatitis control
From dealing with queries related to vaccination to children suffering from jaundice, Maya doctors were throughout there to assist those in need. They also cleared the misunderstanding that being infected with hepatitis doesn’t mean you cannot get the COVID vaccine. Moreover, they were also able to communicate that babies often get jaundice after birth, which is known as physiological jaundice. The statistics speak for themselves and highlight the credibility and dedication Maya has put into playing its role to cope with the chronic disease prevalent in Bangladesh.
Hepatitis has been here for a long time and it’s time we understand the importance of taking measures to keep ourselves safe from this virus. Maya realizes the underlying need of the hour and is here to help Bangladesh fight against hepatitis. We are in this together!!!