Blood test for a patient with Hepatitis virus (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Hepatitis B and C viruses, the silent killers that cause millions of deaths worldwide a year, are estimated to affect over 8.7 million Vietnamese people in 2017, as heard a conference jointly held by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Hanoi on July 21.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said that hepatitis B and C are public health issues, referring to vulnerable groups of same sex practices and injection drug users.

He underlined that the two forms of hepatitis put a heavy burden on the country as the viruses steal thousands of lives every year. He also called the participants to evaluate the viral hepatitis situation in Vietnam and discuss effective measures to prevent the diseases.

Representatives from the WHO and a research group estimated that among 7.8 million people living with hepatitis B, 51,000 get cirrhosis, 14,000 develop liver cancer and 32,000 die of liver diseases.

Policies scenarios have been studied to enhance viral hepatitis diagnose and treatment, helping reduce infected cases. The health sector will make investment in preventive intervention, testing and treatment to save more lives.

Up to 325 million people or 4 percent of the world’s population are living with chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Millions are at risk of slow progression to cirrhosis and cancer and the viral hepatitis causes 1.34 million deaths every year, a number comparable to deaths caused by tuberculosis and malaria.-VNA