BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Health Ministry launched an awareness campaign Thursday on the spread of the viral hepatitis, aimed at informing citizens about the disease’s symptoms and consequences.
The ministry’s project was launched in collaboration with the Doctors’ Syndicate, the Lebanese Association for Gastroenterology, the Lebanese Association for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, and the private firm Roche Lebanon.
The launch was announced in a press conference at Habtour Hotel, which was sponsored by Health Minister Wael Abu Faour, the head of the Parliamentary Committee on Health Atef Majdalani and the head of the Doctors Syndicate Antoine Boustani.
The campaign targets two types of hepatitis - B and C - aiming to clarify that although their symptoms are often neglected, they can lead to more dangerous chronic liver diseases.
The head of Roche’s science office, Abdel Rahman Sabra, explained that hepatitis leads to inflammation of the liver, which may then lead to the liver's deterioration and thus to other, more dangerous, diseases.
“Chronic hepatitis is the main cause in the development of liver cancer,” he said, “and one of the main reasons leading to liver transplants.”
Sabra said that by the time the disease's symptoms appear, the liver would have already started its gradual deterioration. However, he assured that the vaccines preventing hepatitis B are effective and available at the Health Ministry free of charge.
The Health Ministry’s General Manager Walid Ammar said the aim behind the campaign is to “highlight hepatitis B and C for the local community and spread awareness on their dangers as well as on the way to prevent infection.”
He said that through raising awareness, the campaign would be an effective way to reduce the number of infected, which he said was “increasing every year.”