In rural areas,no screening,little awareness about Hepatitis B

The prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in the country is 0.3 per cent and that of Hepatitis B is 4 per cent.

Written by Express News Service | Lucknow | Published:August 20, 2010 4:02 am

The prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in the country is 0.3 per cent and that of Hepatitis B is 4 per cent. Compared to HIV-AIDS,20 times more people die from Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B is also most commonly transmitted by a pregnant woman to her child ¿ 80 out of 100 patients get the infection this way. Yet,availability of screening facilities for Hepatitis B in the state’s rural areas is absolutely nil.

The data was presented by Dr Gourdas Choudhuri,Head of Department of Gastroenterology at SGPGI. Choudhuri is also the founder of HOPE initiative — a collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation — to create awareness about Hepatitis in the state.

“For the last two years,we have been working to create awareness and have managed to reach 550 schools across nine districts in the state,” said Choudhuri. “We have even managed to immunise 6,000 students against the disease.”

Screening for Hepatitis B is yet to become a part of ante-natal checkup of pregnant women,rued Choudhuri. In the public sector,Hepatitis B is tested only at district-level hospitals.

Even the Ante Natal care and Immunisation programme advocated by the Department of Health and Family Welfare and the state wing of NRHM — through the much talked about “Jachha Bachha Suraksha Abhiyan” — does not profess screening for Hepatitis B for would be mothers,he said.

“As Hepatitis B is highly infectious disease,we do screening for pregnant women as per their history and requirement,but we have not got any instructions from the government for 100 per cent screening,” said Dr Minu Sagar,Chief Medical Superintendent of Avanti Bai Female Hospital,Lucknow.

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