By: Elmer M. Palomata, MD - AVP for Provider Relations and Claims Administration
Hepatitis is defined by the World Health Organization as an inflammation of the liver usually caused by hepatitis viruses referred to as types A, B, C, D, and E. These five viruses can cause an acute hepatitis commonly characterized by fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, and jaundice. Aside from these 5 main viruses, which are identified as major causes of potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread, hepatitis can also be caused by other infections, toxic substances including alcohol, and other drugs, and autoimmune diseases.
A report in Medical Observer, a Philippine-based medical and health online publication has recorded that about one in seven adults are infected with hepatitis B and more than half a million with hepatitis C. The same report also indicated that hepatitis B accounts for more than two thirds of all cases of liver cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the country.
The Sustainable Development Goals ratified in September 2015 have identified hepatitis as a priority. The said disease is now the seventh leading cause of mortality around the globe with 1.4 million recorded deaths in 2013.
Because of this, the World Health Organization in partnership with other organizations and institutions worldwide, are now calling for the elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health problem. During the second meeting of the Strategic Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) for Viral Hepatitis in the Western Pacific Region conducted last January 25-27 in Hanoi Vietnam, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for the Western Pacific has reviewed the status of viral hepatitis burden in the region, including the Philippines.
Several priority action areas of the regional action plan were enumerated including the broad-based advocacy and awareness, national policy, data and surveillance, prevention, screening, care and treatment. Among the solutions pointed out in the meeting are prevention strategies which include vaccination, mother-to-child transmission, safe injection, harm reduction and other strategies including testing and treatment.
Fe Del Mundo Medical Center, now a holistic medical center, was founded by Dr. Fe Del Mundo, a distinguished Filipino scientist and pediatrician who received various awards including the Elizabeth Blackwell Award as a “Woman Doctor of World Renown” and the 15th International Congress of Pediatrics Award as the “Most Outstanding Pediatrician and Humanitarian” in 1977.
The hospital is offering services for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of hepatitis. FDMMC has also upgraded facilities for other medical fields including allergology-immunology, hemodialysis, physical rehabilitation, endoscopy, hematology-oncology, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, with various subspecialties in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, anesthesia and pain management, and comprehensive diagnostic services.