To date, an estimated 40 million people throughout India are affected by Hepatitis B, and 15 million by Hepatitis C. In Mumbai, Hepatitis has become a growing epidemic. And yet, with the right information and access to testing, vaccinations and medication, it can be preventable and treatable. Prevention, though, begins with understanding the disease—something that has proven challenging. United Way Mumbai, along with partners in the region, is fighting to change this.
Since 2012, United Way has worked with AmeriCares India Foundation to increase awareness of Hepatitis and stop mother-to-child transmissions, which encompass half of all Hepatitis B infections locally. Through a program called “Pahal,” which means “a new beginning” in Hindi, United Way is supporting three impoverished communities where awareness is low and access to quality healthcare is limited. United Way is providing a healthy beginning for those in need by helping to detect and prevent Hepatitis B infection at birth and early childhood. To date, more than 430,000 people have benefited from immunizations, tests and educational opportunities.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., there are about 50,000 new cases of Hepatitis B and C each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC estimates that about two in three people with Hepatitis B don’t know they’re affected, while 50 percent with Hepatitis C are unaware. Hepatitis can range from a mild illness to a serious, lifelong condition. To educate yourself and others, the CDC provides various resources on the different types of Hepatitis, as well as how to prevent and treat it. To find out if you are at risk for contracting Hepatitis, take the CDC’s five-minute quiz.