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Health dept to set up hepatitis treatment centres in 15 govt hospitals across state

Kolkata: The state Health department has taken up a project to set up a dedicated viral hepatitis treatment centre in 15 government-run hospitals and some medical colleges across the state, with an aim to help patients detect the disease early through proper screening.

The School of Tropical Medicine is one of the hospitals in the city to get an advance treatment centre dedicated for the patients suffering from various hepatitis diseases. The rest will come up in various districts. The state government is chalking out an elaborate plan to complete the project in various phases.

This a significant stride initiated by the Bengal government, especially at a time when millions of people in the country are suffering from Hepatitis C, which can be cured through screening and proper treatment.

The United Nations had adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 with an aim to fight Hepatitis by 2030. To identify the areas affected with the disease mostly and to formulate strategies, the World Health Organisation (WHO) adopted the Draft Global Health Sector Strategies for viral Hepatitis (2016-2021).

Dr Pallab Bhattacharya, a senior Health department official, said that viral hepatitis treatment centres are coming up in 15 different hospitals, in different phases. There are plans to complete the maximum number of treatment centres by the end of the current financial year.

"One of the main objectives of the project is to ensure that the patients affected with the disease can get opportunity for early detection. All these dedicated viral hepatitis treatment centres will have the facilities of screening where a large number of patients can undertake the tests," Dr Bhattacharya said.

If a patient is diagnosed with any of the hepatitis diseases, he/she will be able to undergo treatment at these centres. Hepatitis C infection can be cured, while hepatitis B infection can only be controlled, he added.

Patients are often unaware that they are infected with hepatitis infection and do not go for screening. As a result, the patients are diagnosed with the disease when it has already spread.

Viral hepatitis has been recognised as a serious public health problem in India by the WHO, with 40 million people chronically infected with hepatitis B and 6 to 12 million people chronically infected with Hepatitis C.

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