BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh has the maximum number of viral Hepatitis (A, B, C & E) cases in the country if data released by Union ministry of health and family welfare is to be believed. Hepatitis is a dreaded disease that’s deadly than HIV or asthma. Consumption of contaminated water is a major cause of Hepatitis A and E.
Provisional figures reported by state health department states on an average MP reported 32 cases of viral hepatitis. Cases of hepatitis have quadrupled in two years, with provisional data for 2013 reporting 11,783 cases. In comparison neighbouring Rajasthan reported only 1,807 cases. Both MP and Rajasthan spent the same amount of funds on routine immunization in 2013.
It is not just about clean drinking water. A study by Bhopal-based Gandhi Medical College (GMC) last year reported ‘barely 1% of patients diagnosed with hepatitis in Bhopal, actually sought treatment’.
An estimated 5% of the population carry the virus and most of them are not aware about it until jaundice, cirrhosis or liver cancer sets in, gastroenterologist Dr Sanjay Kumar said. He claimed to have diagnosed hundreds of patients at GastroCare Liver and digestive disease centre.
Under the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) all children born after 1995 are immunized against Hepatitis B. “For those born before 1995, we recommend a simple blood test and eventual vaccination,” he added.
“Patients are generally diagnosed for hepatitis when tested before blood donation. However, they do not turn up for treatment,” said head, department of gastroenterology, GMC, Dr RK Jain. He said patients seek treatment only after pain sets in and liver gets damaged. “At times it is too late to recover as it can lead to cancer,” he added.
The article appeared in The Times of India on February 10th, 2014.