World Hepatitis Day: fast-tracking the elimination of hepatitis B among mothers and children
The proportion of children under five years of age chronically infected with hepatitis B (HBV) dropped to just under 1% in 2019 down from around 5% in the pre-vaccine era (the period between the 1980s and the early 2000s), according to new estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO).
This marks the achievement of one of the milestone targets to eliminate viral hepatitis in the Sustainable Development Goals ─ to reach under 1% prevalence of HBV infections in children under five years of age by 2020.
“No infant should grow up only to die of hepatitis B because they were not vaccinated ─ today’s milestone means that we have dramatically reduced the number of cases of liver damage and liver cancer in future generations,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Preventing mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B is the most important strategy for controlling the disease and saving lives. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must ensure that mothers and newborns have access to life-saving services including hepatitis B vaccinations.”
On World Hepatitis Day 2020, WHO is calling for united and stepped-up action to build on this achievement through intensified efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HBV through testing pregnant …continued .
[Original Source: WHO]