Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda on July 29, 2018, launched the National Viral Hepatitis Control Program to eradicate viral hepatitis by 2030. The program was launched to mark the World Hepatitis Day 2018. On the same occasion, the minister also released the Operational Guidelines for National Viral Hepatitis Control Program; National Laboratory Guidelines for Viral Hepatitis Testing; and National Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Viral Hepatitis.
1. The National Viral Control Program aims to control viral hepatitis in the country, thus, thereby reducing mortality and morbidity attributed to it.
2. It aims to increase access to testing and management of viral hepatitis; promote diagnosis and provide treatment support for patients of hepatitis B &C through standardized testing and management protocols with focus on treatment of hepatitis B and C.
3. The key strategies of the program include preventive interventions with the focus on awareness generation, safe injection practices, and socio-cultural practices.
4. It will also focus on ensuring sanitation and hygiene, safe drinking water supply, infection control and immunization.
5. It involves coordination and collaboration with different Ministries and departments.
6. It aims to build capacities at national, state, district levels and sub-district level up to Primary Health Centres (PHC) and health and wellness centers to scale up the program to the lowest level of the healthcare facility in a phased manner.
Viral hepatitis B and C are major health challenges and are the root causes of liver cancer. The disease has become a major killer due to a lack of global attention. Viral hepatitis causes debilitating diseases and also places a huge economic burden on families. Hepatitis attacks the most vulnerable. Over the past 15 years, more and more people have been dying of viral hepatitis. Timely testing and treatment of viral hepatitis B and C can save lives.