July 18, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination



THE CONTEXT: Hepatitis B is a significant public health concern in India, as highlighted by a study conducted by Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi.


  • Despite its potential to cause severe liver diseases such as cirrhosis and liver cancer, public knowledge and awareness regarding the disease remain inadequate.

Highlights of the Study:

  • The study revealed that only 25% of respondents had sufficient knowledge about Hepatitis B, including its transmission methods, effects on the liver, and the importance of vaccination.
  • This lack of awareness underscores the need for targeted information campaigns to address misconceptions and educational gaps surrounding the disease.
  • Globally, Hepatitis B infection affects around 296 million people annually, leading to approximately 887,000 deaths due to complications.
  • In India, where socio-demographic indices are lower, infection rates remain high despite the availability of an effective vaccine for over three decades.
  • The prevalence of Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positivity, indicating HBV infection, ranges from 2% to 8% in India.
  • Recent meta-analyses suggest an overall prevalence of 3.70%, translating to about 37 million HBV carriers in the country.
  • These statistics highlight the urgent need for increased awareness and vaccination efforts.

Study Methodology:

  • The study conducted by Sir Ganga Ram Hospital involved a cross-sectional survey of over 3,500 participants to assess their knowledge and vaccination practices related to Hepatitis B.
  • The survey evaluated four critical domains:
    • cause and spread of the disease,
    • affected organs and consequences,
    • available treatments, and
    • vaccination information.

Vaccination Coverage and Disparities:

  • Alarmingly, only 22.7% of participants had completed the full Hepatitis B vaccination course.
  • The study also identified disparities in vaccination uptake influenced by factors such as gender, education levels, and urban-rural divide.
  • These disparities underscore the importance of ensuring accessibility to vaccination initiatives for all segments of the population.

Recommendations and Public Health Interventions:

  • The need for targeted public health interventions to improve awareness and vaccination coverage has been emphasized.
  • Educational campaigns should particularly focus on vulnerable populations, including women, older individuals, those with lower education levels, and rural residents.
  • The importance of completing the full vaccination schedule for adequate efficacy has been stressed.
  • It is common for individuals to miss the last dose of vaccination, which can compromise protection against Hepatitis B.


  • Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that is caused by a variety of infectious viruses and noninfectious agents leading to a range of health problems, some of which can be fatal.
  • There are five main strains of the hepatitis virus, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E.
  • While they all cause liver disease, they differ in important ways including modes of transmission, severity of the illness, geographical distribution and prevention methods.
  • In particular, types B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people and together are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and viral hepatitis-related deaths.
  • An estimated 354 million people worldwide live with hepatitis B or C, and for most, testing and treatment remain beyond reach.
  • Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus.
  • Some people with hepatitis B are sick for only a few weeks (known as “acute” infection), but for others, the disease progresses to a serious, lifelong illness known as chronic hepatitis B.

SOURCE: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/health/hepatitis-b-is-a-public-health-concern-in-india-but-very-few-know-about-its-transmission-effects-vaccination-95201

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