Hepatitis B continues to pose a serious threat to global public health in many regions of the world despite the existence of effective vaccination. Around 257 million people are thought to have a chronic Hepatitis B infection worldwide, and 887,000 people pass away each year as a result of complications linked to the infection.
Hepatitis B: what is it?
The Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is responsible for the deadly liver infection known as hepatitis B. It is possible to contract the virus by coming into touch with infected blood or bodily fluids. Around 257 million people are thought to have a chronic Hepatitis B infection worldwide, and 887,000 people pass away each year as a result of complications linked to the infection.
Hepatitis B symptoms, which range in severity from moderate to severe, might include fever, exhaustion, abdominal discomfort, and jaundice. Hepatitis B, however, often causes no symptoms at all, and the illness can go unnoticed for years. Because it can cause severe liver damage and even liver cancer without the infected person being aware of it, hepatitis B is known as the “silent killer.”
The vaccine can protect against hepatitis B. All newborns should receive the vaccine as part of their regular immunizations because of its great effectiveness. Adults who are at risk of getting the infection, such as healthcare workers, those who have multiple sexual partners, and those who inject drugs, are also advised to get the vaccine.
There are more strategies to stop the spread of hepatitis B besides immunization. These include using safe sexual practices, refraining from sharing razors, toothbrushes, or other personal hygiene products, and avoiding contact with infected blood or bodily fluids.
Hepatitis B Elimination Challenges
Providing access to vaccination and other preventive measures, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, is one of the main obstacles in the fight to eradicate Hepatitis B. Only about 42% of newborns worldwide receive the recommended three doses of the hepatitis B vaccine, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that only 42% of newborns worldwide receive the recommended three doses of the Hepatitis B vaccine, making access to vaccination and other preventive measures one of the biggest obstacles to eliminating Hepatitis B.
Another difficulty is educating people about Hepatitis B and eradicating the stigma associated with the condition, as many of those who have it encounter prejudice and stigma. Many people with hepatitis B experience prejudice and social exclusion, which can make it challenging for them to get support and healthcare services.
Many people worldwide still run the risk of developing Hepatitis B despite the vaccine and other preventive measures being available. Particularly in low- and middle-income nations, where access to healthcare and immunization programs may be constrained, this is true.
Governments and healthcare organizations must raise knowledge about Hepatitis B and its prevention in order to address this problem. Campaigns for education, specialized immunization plans, and easier access to medical care might all fall under this category.