Blood banks to inform SBTC of hepatitis positive patients
The State Blood Transfusion Council in India has instructed blood banks to notify both new and old hepatitis B and C patients in an effort to eradicate the diseases. The council has 373 blood banks registered with it and aims to end viral hepatitis by 2030 through its National Viral Hepatitis Control Program. Free screening tests and treatment are being provided to hepatitis B and C patients through treatment centres, and blood donors are being referred to these centres for further treatment and medical management. The monthly data will be analysed to identify trends in the community.
The State Blood Transfusion Council (SBTC) has instructed all blood banks to notify new and old hepatitis B and C patients reported at blood banks in an effort to eradicate the diseases. The decision has been taken to reach out to blood donors unknowingly living with hepatitis.
Viral hepatitis is a public health problem worldwide including in India and is caused by hepatitis A, B, C, D and E viruses. Hepatitis A and E, transmitted through faecal-oral route, usually present as acute infections which may occur sporadically or as outbreaks. Hepatitis B and C, transmitted predominantly by percutaneous or mucosal exposure to infected blood and various body fluids, can lead to chronic infection and progress to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (primary liver cancer).
Dr Arun Thorat, assistant director of SBTC, said, the details of the patients have to be shared with SBTC with the number of tests conducted for hepatitis B and hepatitis C, along with the number of patients found infected with hepatitis B and C. The council must get the information every month by the fifth.
The council has 373 blood blanks registered with it, and 37 blood banks are from Pune. The National Viral Hepatitis Control Program (NVHCP), launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for the prevention and control of viral hepatitis aims at ending viral hepatitis by 2030.
Dr Thorat, said NVHCP programme has been started in the state and all 35 districts. The state currently has nine Model Treatment centres (MTC) and 27 treatment centres (TC) have been started. This includes 15 government medical colleges.
“Through the treatment centres free screening tests and treatment is provided to hepatitis B and C patients. The blood banks have also been instructed to counsel both new and old hepatitis B and C blood donors. These blood donors will be referred to the treatment centres in the district for further treatment and medical management,” said Thorat.
Dr Nagnath Yempalay, district civil surgeon, said, hepatitis C is a curable disease with just 8-12 weeks of oral therapy (pills) but if left untreated, it can cause severe liver damage and even liver cancer, or death. “Hepatitis B treatment can delay or limit liver damage by suppressing the virus. Similar to the treatment of HIV, hepatitis B treatment may need to be taken for the rest of your life,” he said.
The central team will evaluate the implementation of the programme in the state. The monthly data will be analysed and help to identify the trend of hepatitis B and C cases in the community. The objectives for the screening of hepatitis B and C in the state have been decided by the Central government and the report will be uploaded on the NVHCP portal by the state every three months.