UAE on track to eradicating hepatitis by 2030
Dubai - Vaccinations have been among the country's top priorities in fighting the disease.
A series of awareness campaigns for the early detection of hepatitis is set to be rolled out across the UAE this year, as the country moves towards its target of eradicating the disease by 2030.
Marking World Hepatitis Day today, July 28, the Ministry of Health and Prevention said the UAE is one of the leading countries on the right track to beating hepatitis within the next decade.
Vaccinations have been among the country's top priorities in fighting the disease. Authorities ensure that the shots are administered to healthcare workers and residents travelling to countries most affected by the virus. The UAE topped Middle Eastern countries in including hepatitis B vaccination as part of the basics of the National Immunisation Programme since 1991.
The hepatitis virus has five main strains, from A to E. Hepatitis B and C are the most common cause of deaths, claiming 1.3 million lives every year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
"Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, viral hepatitis continues to claim thousands of lives every day," it added.
Depending on the type of virus, viral hepatitis is spread through contaminated food or water, contact with infected blood, sexual contact with an infected person, or from mother to child during childbirth. Symptoms may include jaundice, fatigue, low-grade fever, vomitting and diarrhoea, but in some cases, a person may not experience any symptom at all.
While vaccines offer protection against hepatitis A and B, no vaccines are available yet for hepatitis C, D, and E. This means reducing exposure to the virus offers the best means of protection, according to information posted on the Department of Health-Abu Dhabi's website.
"Hepatitis A and E usually resolve themselves without the need for treatment, while hepatitis B, C, and D can be chronic and serious. Drugs are available to treat chronic hepatitis," it added.
According to official statistics on hepatitis, the UAE is among the world's least affected countries, thanks to the strenuous efforts being made by the government and private health departments.
Healthcare providers are also constantly trained on the latest methods of diagnosing and treating the disease, applying the best preventive practices to reduce the spread of the virus.