"Hepatitis is responsible for more deaths than HIV or TB!"
What makes hepatitis so dangerous?
Ulrike Protzer: Viral hepatitis is responsible for more deaths than HIV or TB. For too long, the number of people affected has been completely underestimated, so too little political action has been taken. For example, there were no diagnostic campaigns like HIV. The WHO has now acknowledged the problem and called for more action. Their goal is to drastically reduce the number of new cases and deaths by 2030. This includes the call for World Hepatitis Day to track down the millions of missing people. Because the unsaved number is huge.
How to get the affected people out of darkness to help them?
Ulrike Protzer: Massive screening campaigns need to be conducted. Only an education can help to find the patients. Hepatitis has a thorny problem, namely its ability to stay in the body for a long time without symptoms. The affected person does not notice the infection, but his liver is still broken. The illumination and then the treatment can help here – you need more money for that. It will also be important to break the stigma of the disease. Nobody would admit that they are carriers of an illness. Many patients therefore fear a diagnosis, because they fear, rightly, the disadvantages.
What does one do in DZIF to fight viral hepatitis?
Ulrike Protzer: Three steps are essential to achieve the objectives of WHO. Start by vaccinating to prevent diseases. Here we do not have a hepatitis C vaccine, but we still need to improve vaccination rates. Second, diagnose to treat. This requires educational campaigns, as we started as part of an international consortium with the "B" Aware campaign. And third, treat what is not working so far, especially with hepatitis B. The DZIF is active in all three areas and can already boast of significant success.
Teacher. Dr. Ulrike Protzer