That Silent Killer Called Hepatitis

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Often when we talk of deadly diseases or sicknesses, our minds go to cancer, Aids, stroke, and the rest; hardly, do we think of hepatitis. Hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver, which can be self-limiting or can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer, is often caused by hepatitis viruses. Other infections, auto-immune diseases, toxic substances such as alcohol and certain drugs also play a major part in causing hepatitis.

What makes hepatitis deadly is the fact that it is not just caused by a single virus, its viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E, can be contacted through different means – some of them as common as by a mere contact with infected blood or even consumption of contaminated water or food. While hepatitis kills millions of people worldwide, one wonders how many people – especially those living in the rural setting in Africa – know the causes and dangers of this disease. Your guess is as good as mine.

Globally, more than 400 million people are infected with hepatitis viruses; 6–10 million people are newly infected yearly. Sadly, 95% of the infected victims do not really know they have hepatitis. That makes hepatitis very dangerous. However, the good thing is that over 90% of people with hepatitis C (mostly transmitted through exposure to infective blood) can be completely cured within 3–6 months, if they have the right medical treatment. But the question is: how can one talk of a cure for a disease when they do not know they have the disease in the first place? Furthermore, inasmuch as hepatitis C can be cured easily with the right treatment, what of other four hepatitis types? This is why the creation of the social awareness of hepatitis becomes absolutely a necessity.

As we join hands with the United Nations to celebrate the World Hepatitis Day, on 28 July yearly, the Kata Kata Village decides to take rapid action to create awareness of the dangers of the disease. Believing in the philosophy that a healthy person is a productive individual, the village is aware that there is no better way to bring much needed social progress amongst its people than to remain healthy.

Do you share the belief and aspiration of the Kata Kata Village? Do you want to create much- needed awareness of the danger of hepatitis? If yes, come, let us put hands together with the UNO and the Kata Kata Village to achieve this unique task before us. Is there a better way to make this world a better place?

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