In the Asia-Pacific region, considered the biggest and densest part of the world, deaths from viral hepatitis each year are three times higher than those of HIV/AIDS, a study said.
“Despite the escalating death toll from viral hepatitis, governments have often been at a loss about how to tackle these diseases, lacking the technical expertise, resources and even evidence to justify the investments needed to confront viral hepatitis,” said Dr. Jose Sollano, Jr., gastroenterologist and member of Coalition to Eradicate Viral Hepatitis in Asia Pacific (CEVHAP) in the Philippines.
Sollano made the statement during a media roundtable discussion on hepatitis on Thursday in Greenhills.
CEVHAP, Hepatitis Society of the Philippines (HSP), and global pharmaceutical company MSD are raising awareness about the hepatitis situation in the Philippines in time for World Hepatitis Day on July 28.
“We now have the evidence that justifies the investment in the form of one million people dying needlessly every year. We also have a new framework from the World Health Organization and as a member of CEVHAP, I urge our policymakers to form national strategies and ensure viral hepatitis receives the attention it needs,” Sollano said.
Data from the the United States-based independent research center Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation said there are approximately one million deaths from hepatitis every year compared to 300,000 from HIV/AIDS.
Meanwhile, the article "Hepatitis B Infection among Adults in the Philippines: A national seroprevalence study" posted on the World Journal of Hepatology's April 2013 issue said 16.7% of Filipinos are infected with Hepatitis B.