On the eve of World Hepatitis Day, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals Ltd (AGHL), Kolkata, is spreading awareness about hepatitis, liver transplant and organ donation. Inflammations of the liver due to infections caused by such viruses as Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E result in viral hepatitis. It is a major public health concern infecting millions of people annually. Some of these even cause hepatocellular carcinoma, liver cirrhosis and other life-threatening diseases. Currently, it is estimated that 1 in 3 people in the world have been infected by either HBV or HCV. Approximately, 200 million people are infected annually with Hepatitis C or B.
In endemic regions, more than 90% children get infected by HAV by the age of 10. Viral hepatitis results in around 1.4 million deaths each year. Prevention and control strategies for viral hepatitis include raising awareness through public education, vaccination, blood transfusion safety strategies, early diagnosis and effective medical support.
It is estimated that approximately 25,000 people per year require liver transplants in India, yet only 1,000-1,500 transplants take place. Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata, is one of the few centres in eastern India that runs a successful liver transplant programme with a 100% success rate for donors and 80% success rate for recipients.
Currently, 80% of these liver transplants happen from living donors, while 20% are cadaver transplants. Organ transplantation is one of the greatest medical marvels of the 20th Century that has prolonged — and improved — the lives of many worldwide. At present, the cadaver transplant rate in India stands at around 0.34 per million, which is extremely low compared to that in developed countries. And, to fulfil the target for liver transplants, the future figure has to reach 80% cadaver donations against 20% live donations.
‘More awareness about organ donation a must’
‘Hepatitis is preventable by increasing awareness, sanitation, vaccination, early diagnosis and proper treatment. But, for patients needing liver transplant, we need to create awareness so that the rate of cadaver donations increases. Even today, people back out of cadaver donations because of a lack of awareness, religious beliefs and superstitions, which need to be totally eradicated’
- Mahesh K Goenka, senior gastroenterologist and Director, Institute of Gastro Sciences & Liver AGHL