Hepatitis is Still a Silent Killer in Africa and Elsewhere

BY Danjuma Adda

The Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was awarded this week to three researchers who discovered the virus that causes hepatitis C.

According to the announcement, “For the first time in history, the disease can now be cured, raising hopes of eradicating hepatitis C virus from the world population.”

New blood tests and drugs for this deadly disease have already saved millions of lives. But for millions more around the world, the celebration is bittersweet and the revolution in diagnosis and treatment remains a distant dream.

In Africa, dying from viral hepatitis is becoming a bigger threat than dying from HIV/AIDS or malaria. Although there are five types of viral hepatitis (A, B, C, D, and E), chronic B and C cause nearly all hepatitis-related sickness and untimely deaths.