Myanmar commits to significant reduction of hepatitis

Union Minister Dr Myint Htwe delivers the speech at the event to mark the World Hepatitis Day 2019 in Yangon yesterday. Photo: MNA
Union Minister Dr Myint Htwe delivers the speech at the event to mark the World Hepatitis Day 2019 in Yangon yesterday. Photo: MNA

World Hepatitis Day 2019 was commemorated at the University of Nursing, Yangon yesterday.
Union Minister for Health and Sports Dr Myint Htwe delivered a speech at the event. He said WHO began commemorating World Hepatitis Day in 2010 to raise awareness of the medical condition, with Myanmar joining in 2013.
The Union Minister said his ministry has been collaborating with World Hepatitis Alliance and their motto – ‘Finding the missing millions’ – to educate the public on hepatitis and healthcare, provide medical examinations, disease prevention and treatment since 2018. He added that they will also take action in line with this year’s motto: ‘Invest in Eliminating Hepatitis’.
The Union Minister says they regularly improve their work in accordance with guidelines distributed by WHO, including the ‘Simplified Treatment Guidelines for Hepatitis C Infection (2017)’ and ‘Simplified Treatment Guidelines for Hepatitis B Infection (2019)’.
Surveys by the Department of Public Health, Department of Medical Research and Myanmar Liver Foundation in 2015 revealed that 6.5 per cent of Myanmar’s population had hepatitis B and 2.7 per cent had hepatitis C, said the Union Minister.
He said one in ten people with the medical condition are unaware of having it and thus fail to receive medical attention in time. He said the ministry administers free vaccinations for hepatitis B for newborns and infants ranging from 2, 3 to 6 months old.
The Union Minister said they opened treatment centers for hepatitis C in seven hospitals in Yangon, Mandalay regions and Nay Pyi Taw in 2017 and then in Myitkyina and Mawlamyine in 2018.
He said they were able to provide treatment to 5,000 patients with hepatitis B as of May 2019 and have plans to open new treatment centers in August and September this year.
The Union Minister said Myanmar Liver Foundation cooperates with the ministry to provide check-ups for hepatitis, administer vaccinations and treatment to people through their 23 township branches.
The Union Minister urged everyone to actively participate in ensuring the virus that causes hepatitis is vanquished and removed as a threat to public health by 2030. Next, Myanmar Liver Foundation President Dr Khin Pyone Kyi delivered a speech, WHO’s representative in Myanmar, Dr Stephen Paul Jost, read a message send by WHO’s Region Director for Southeast Asia, and Myanmar Liver Foundation’s Executive Secretary Dr Sithura read a message sent by World Hepatitis Alliance President Mr Michael Nimberg.
This was followed by the liver foundation’s chairman of the board, Dr Tin Nyunt, explaining about the foundation’s ongoing tasks and hepatologist Prof Dr Win Naing giving a lecture on liver cancer.
The event offered medical checkups for hepatitis to 227 people and administered 223 vaccines for hepatitis B.
On 27 July, the Union Minister delivered a speech at the Officers Installation Ceremony (2018-2019) as a guest of honor. The ceremony was organized by Rotary Club of Yangon, Rotary Club of Central Yangon and Rotary Club of Greater Yangon.
The ceremony was attended by the chief ministers of Kayah, Chin and Mon states, regional government ministers, ambassadors, and the leaders and members of Rotary groups from around the world. —MNA (Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)

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