WHO -MoH to launch mass screening for hepatitis

WHO -MoH to launch mass screening for hepatitis

Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Timor-Leste, Arvin Mathur (Photo Tatoli/Francisco Sony)

DILI, 24 july 2023 (TATOLI) – The World Health Organization (WHO), together with the Ministry of Health (MoH), will launch screening for hepatitis B and C to ensure that people living with chronic hepatitis B and C receive appropriate treatment. 

WHO representative to Timor-Leste, Arvind Mathur, said WHO had suggested to the Ministry of Health to launch the Hepatitis Screening and Treatment Service on World Hepatitis Day: “The service would first be made available to at least 1,000 patients.”

He said patients who tested positive for hepatitis would receive appropriate treatment, including antiviral drugs. 

In order to combat hepatitis and other infectious diseases, WHO and the Ministry of Health have developed an integrated strategic plan for the prevention, control, and management of hepatitis, HIV, and sexually transmitted infections.

“What is very important to realize is that treatment for hepatitis B and C is now available. So we will start with the treatment made available at HNGV, but it will also be made available at regional and referral hospitals,” he said.

Mathur encourages people showing symptoms of hepatitis – including loss of appetite, yellow discoloration of urine, sweat, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-colored stools, joint pain, eyes becoming yellow, and jaundice to seek treatment at the hospital: “Again, treatment for Hepatitis B and C is now available. So, it is very important to get it tested.”

To reduce hepatitis cases, Mathur said Timor-Leste needs to screen all blood for hepatitis.

The hepatitis A virus causes acute inflammation of the liver that almost always gets better on its own. Meanwhile, Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). For most people, hepatitis B is short-term, also called acute, and lasts less than six months.

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation, sometimes leading to serious liver damage. The hepatitis C virus (HCV) spreads through contaminated blood.

Mathur said WHO and the Ministry of Health will also launch guidelines for the prevention and treatment of chronic hepatitis B and C on World Hepatitis Day.

To date, Timor-Leste has identified a large number of hepatitis cases through blood donation and screening of pregnant mothers.


Journalist: Filomeno Martins 

Editor: Nelia Borges


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