Klinik Hati

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17,500.000 Millions of Peoples in Indonesia Suffers from Chronic Hepatitis

Liver diseases is a huge public health problem in Indonesia. The prevalence of hepatitis B (HBsAg) is 5%-10% in many parts of Indonesia. In certain areas, in eastern part of Indonesia the prevalence of this diseases was reported higher. It is estimated about 17 and a half millions of peoples in Indonesia suffers from chronic hepatitis in which more than 20% of them will become liver cirrhosis and eventually liver cancer. Liver cirrhosis is a desease with many severe complications and one among the most frequents diseases that causes morbidities and mortalities in Indonesia. Hepatitis B has become a tremendous burden to the patients the family, and to the government.

Ironically the disease can be prevented, because the hepatitis B vaccine is already available. Effort to vaccinate the babies has been started by the government since 1991; but lack of vaccines has become the biggest obstacles to make the mass vaccination successful. The key to win the fight again hepatitis B and liver cancer is prevention, and prevention begins with education.

The key to winning the fight against hepatitis B and liver cancer is prevention, and prevention begins with education. There is a vaccine readily available that offers full protection from hepatitis B, but many API aren’t vaccinated simply because they don’t know about the problem or they don’t think that it affects them. The education includes detailed information about hepatitis B and liver cancer, including how to interpret blood tests and get vaccinations For those already affected by hepatitis B, patients can be visit the liver clinic for evaluation, treatment (if possible), and screening for liver cancer.

How is hepatitis B transmitted among Asians and Pacific Islanders?

Reusing needles for injection or tattoos, and unprotected sex, many APIs become infected when they are infants or young children. Frequently, transmission of the hepatitis B virus occurs during the birthing process when the virus is passed on from the mother (who is often unaware that she is a carrier and has chronic hepatitis B) to her child. It can also be transmitted during early childhood through direct contact with blood of infected individuals, occurring from contact between open wounds, sharing contaminated toothbrushes or razors, or through contaminated medical/dental tools.

Why is hepatitis B often not diagnosed?

The danger of hepatitis B lies in its silent transmission and progression. Many chronic hepatitis B carriers have no symptoms and feel healthy. Carriers may exhibit normal blood tests for liver function and be granted a clean bill of health. The diagnosis of cannot be made unless the doctor orders a specific blood test that tests for the presence of the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), a marker for chronic infection. Since the detection of hepatitis B is so easily missed, even by doctors, it is up to the patient to specifically request the HBsAg test. Early detection not only benefits the carrier, but will also prevent the infection from being passed silently from one child to another, and from one generation to another.   

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