BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Health Ministry launched a campaign Thursday with the aim of raising awareness about the spread, symptoms and consequences of hepatitis.
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 news conference at the Hilton Habtoor Grand Hotel sponsored by Health Minister Wael Abu Faour, the head of Parliament’s Health Committee Atef Majdalani and the head of the Doctors’ Syndicate Antoine Boustani.
The campaign targets two types of hepatitis, B and C, and aims to inform citizens that when symptoms are neglected, these viral infections can lead to more dangerous chronic liver diseases. Hepatitis B and C infections are most commonly transmitted through blood and other bodily fluids.
The head of Roche’s science office, Abdel Rahman Sabra, explained that hepatitis leads to inflammation of the liver, which may then cause the organ’s deterioration and thus 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 has 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 about 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.”