|KNOW HEPATITIS: ACT NOW … World Hepatitis Day 2016 will be held in Sandakan says Dr Christina (seated 4th left) at the press conference.|
KOTA KINABALU : To raise awareness on the dangers of viral hepatitis, the State Health Department will be hosting the national-level World Hepatitis Day at Sandakan with this year’s theme “Know Hepatitis: Act Now” will be officiated by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam.
“Sabah still faces high incidences of viral hepatitis with most cases reported in major towns in the state capital as well as Sandakan, but even official figures may be somewhat less as most people are still unaware if they are infected with hepatitis,” announced State Health Director Dr Christina Rundi.
Speaking at the press conference yesterday, Dr Christina stressed the importance of awareness campaigns to educate the people on the dangers of the lethal, unseen killer disease which causes acute and chronic liver disease (liver cirrhosis) that progresses insidiously and unnoticed, leading to liver failure, liver cancer and death.
“We aim to enhance public awareness on this deadly, silent disease on diagnosis, risks and preventative strategies,” she said.
The campaigns are also vital for those with the disease to learn about the available treatment and steps to prevent the spread of hepatitis.
The World Hepatitis Day event which will be held in Sandakan on August 6 will also be attended by Batu Sapi Member of Parliament, Datuk Linda Tsen and president of the Sandakan Muncipal Council, with over 500 participants expected to attend.
Viral hepatitis affects over 400 million people and has taken the lives of over 1.4 million people worldwide. Official figures from the World Health Organisation indicate only 5 per cent of patients suffering from chronic hepatitis are aware of their disease and only 1 per cent seek treatment.
Dr Christina said awareness campaigns on viral hepatitis are needed while highlighting that vaccination and immunisation programmes are provided for hepatitis B.
Treatment is also provided for hepatitis C and the department has undertaken steps to control the disease and prevent its spread.
by MOHD IZHAM B. HASHIM.