With a goal of ending viral hepatitis by 2030, Indian Health Minister J.P. Nadda has launched a 'National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme' last Saturday.
"With this initiative, the government is strongly committed to work towards the elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030 in the country," he said as he initiated the programme to mark the World Hepatitis Day 2018 here.
‘With this 'National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme’ launch, the government is all set to offer free drugs and diagnostics for hepatitis B and C.’
The initiative aims to reduce morbidity and mortality due to viral hepatitis. Key strategies include preventive and promotive interventions, collaboration with different ministries, increasing access to testing and treatment facilities and building capacities up to sub-district level.
Nadda also released the operational guidelines for NVHCP, national laboratory guidelines for viral hepatitis testing and national guidelines for diagnosis and management of viral hepatitis, while Minister of State for Communication Manoj Sinha also released a commemorative stamp.
Nadda said the ministry under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is aggressively addressing the preventable diseases and that there has been a paradigm shift in designing the programme.
"Programmes are now designed at the ground level, and all stakeholders are taken into consideration. We are now making sure that the last person gets the benefit out of it," he said.
The ministry has already launched a campaign to end TB by 2025, five years ahead of the global target, he said. The government now has more than 1,100 Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) machines for quick diagnosis of tuberculosis.
It also provides a daily regimen with fixed-dose combinations. The government has also initiated active case finding to screen more TB patients.
Nadda stated that the government has also launched the 'Test and Treat Policy for HIV' wherein as soon as a person is tested and found to be positive, he will be provided with ART irrespective of his CD count or clinical stage.
"The government has also launched Rotavirus vaccine, Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) and the Measles-Rubella (MR), Pneumonia vaccine and one thing that was remaining was Hepatitis. With this launch, we will offer free drugs and diagnostics for hepatitis B and C. This initiative will provide laboratory testing and management of viral hepatitis with a decentralized approach," Nadda added.