Almost half of UAE residents don’t know what Hepatitis B is: Poll

Reuters
Reuters

Dubai - Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by a virus and, if left untreated, it could turn into a life-threatening condition.



By Team KT

Published: Tue 27 Jul 2021, 8:08 PM

Nearly half of UAE residents — 47 per cent — are not aware of Hepatitis B, according to a recent survey done ahead of World Hepatitis Day, which is being observed today.

Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by a virus and, if left untreated, it could turn into a life-threatening condition.

An estimated 15.5 million people in the Middle East and North Africa are chronically infected with the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). However, its prevalence among the Emirati population is only between 1 and 1.5 per cent.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has a target to reduce new viral hepatitis infections by 90 per cent and deaths due to viral hepatitis by 65 per cent by 2030.

The survey reveals there is a lack of awareness about the disease with the majority of respondents (84 per cent) not knowing that it can be asymptomatic and less than a quarter (21 per cent) knowing how it can be transmitted.

A majority (85 per cent) of the respondents are not aware of how HBV is prevented, while 92 per cent believe that the disease cannot be treated easily. Only a quarter of the respondents believe that HBV can lead to serious health complications.

“The lack of awareness around HBV means securing appropriate and prompt treatment remains a challenge,” said Dr Mohamed Farghaly, professor of medicine at Dubai Medical College, consultant and CEO advisor of Dubai Health Insurance Corporation (DHIC).

“General practitioners and healthcare physicians also have limited knowledge and expertise in this field, so it is essential to seek advice from specialist centres to ensure that an optimal treatment path is secured. HBV treatment is covered by most medical insurance packages in the UAE so the required care and treatment is easily accessible to patients who need it.”

reporters@khaleejtimes.com


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