Health Protection Agency released the administration's 'National Strategic Action Plan on Viral Hepatitis' to facilitate the eradication of the virus in Maldives.
The event held Monday to commemorate World Hepatitis Day in Paradise Island Resort was attended by Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen and World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Maldives Dr Arvind Mathur, amongst other figures within the health sector.
According to WHO, hepatitis is a treatable viral disease which causes inflammation of the liver and can lead to fibrosis, cirrhosis and liver cancer. The virus is classified into five groups and is referred to as types A, B, C, D and E, with Types B and C being most prevalent.
Over 325 million people are infected worldwide and cause 1.4 million deaths each year, with 80 percent of infected individuals lacking access to treatment and screening services. WHO stated that USD 6 billion is needed to globally eliminate hepatitis by 2030.
Minister Ameen declared plans to eradicate hepatitis in Maldives by 2025. He noted the biggest challenge in tackling hepatitis in Maldives was the lack of screening facilities and a growing move towards anti-vaccination.
During the event, photographer Ashwa Faheem released her first short film 'Neyngi Huttaa', which loosely translates to 'While Unknown'. The film was produced to raise awareness and promote screening for hepatitis within society.