National action plan combating viral hepatitis in India
In line with the Government of India’s deep commitment towards elimination of viral hepatitis, the “National Action Plan – Viral Hepatitis” was launched by Union Minister of State, Health & Family Welfare. Viral hepatitis is recognized as an important public health problem across the world. According to WHO estimates, viral hepatitis caused 1.34 million deaths globally in 2015, a number comparable to deaths due to tuberculosis, worldwide. In India, it is estimated that there are 4 crore people suffering from Hepatitis B and 0.6-1.2 crore people suffering from Hepatitis C. The National Action Plan was developed by experts from across the country, in line with India’s commitment and keeping the global perspective in mind. The Plan provides a strategic framework, based on which National Viral Hepatitis Control Program was framed and launched in July, 2018 under National Health Mission by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. This program is also in line with global commitment towards achieving Sustainable development Goal (SDG) 3.3. India has affirmed this commitment at the 69th World Health Assembly. India is one of the few countries in the world to roll out management of Hepatitis B and hepatitis C in a public health approach and offer free diagnostics and drugs lifelong to its beneficiaries.