Govt announces project to provide affordable hepatitis care
A day ahead of 'World Hepatitis Day' on July 28, the government of India announced a pilot project for the treatment of hepatitis B and C in collaboration with Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences.
"The pilot project aims at providing affordable drugs to people with funds coming from both the government and the industry," said Dr Jagdish Prasad, DGHS. "A research should also be done to develop vaccines for hepatitis C," he added.
The model for the project named Hepatitis Awareness Assistance and Treatment Support (HAATS) was designed by ILBS. The institute launched a website that helps one in understanding how to handle needle stick injury.
"About four crore people in India are infected by hepatitis b and about 1.5 crore people are infected by hepatitis C. The treatments for these diseases are very expensive and patients end up spending Rs 5 lakh every year for the treatment of hepatitis C and almost Rs 3 to 4 lakh for hepatitis B. The HAATS initiative is aimed at bringing down the cost of these treatments," said Dr Shiv Sarin, director, ILBS.
Delhi Health Secretary S L Das, who was also present at the occasion, promised to give two sophisticated vans to ILBS, which will travel across the state and collect blood and heighten screening so that safe blood is made available.