Hepatitis remains major problem in Vietnam
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About 8 million people in Vietnam suffering from hepatitis B or C, and liver cancer is the second leading cause of death in local men.
These statistics were announced yesterday by the World Health Organization (WHO) Vietnam Country Office on the occasion of the second World Hepatitis Day (July 28).
The hepatitis B immunization program in Vietnam has been carried out over the past 10 years, and has helped towards the reduction of the rate of chronic infection among children under 5, to 2%.
Meanwhile, people who inject drugs have a particularly high infection rate for hepatitis C, with up to 98.5% of them infected with the virus.
Yesterday WHO experts stressed that hepatitis B and C would be a considerable challenge facing the country as a result of low awareness and improper treatment. Some reports have shown that nearly 60% people infected with hepatitis B or C virus have developed cirrhosis and nearly 80% developed liver cancers.
“Developing national policies for the diagnosis and treatment of chronic hepatitis B and C is one of the key priorities in preventing the cirrhosis and cancers of the liver," said Dr. Fabio Mesquita, Senior Advisor on HIV at the WHO Viet Nam Country Office.
World Hepatitis Day was created two years ago with the aim of raising awareness of the different forms of hepatitis. "Given the high endemicity of hepatitis viruses in the Western Pacific Region, especially hepatitis B and C, we need to deliver focused, concerted actions, including prevention, screening and treatment of those already infected," says Dr Shin Young-Soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific.