WHO says many hepatitis cases could be prevented if hospitals reduced the vast number of unnecessary injections that help spread the disease.
The UN agency launched a broad campaign against unnecessary injections on the eve of World Hepatitis Day, which is celebrated every year on July 28.
“Every year, contaminated needles and transfusion equipment cause nearly 2 million infections with the virus that causes chronic liver disease, as well as nearly 34,000 HIV infections.
“Up to 70 per cent of injections are either totally unnecessary or could be replaced by oral medicines,” the WHO said in Geneva.
WHO expert Lisa Hedman has said at a press briefing that Egypt is one of the countries that have been affected by this problem.
“Injection equipment was reused on multiple people and created a spike in the transmission of hepatitis C that has been difficult to control ever since.
“As part of its campaign, WHO is asking health authorities to switch to equipment that cannot be used twice and that protects health workers from getting pricked.
“WHO also wants patients to know about the risks so that they can ask their doctor for a tablet instead of a shot.
“This is everybody’s responsibility. We are asking everybody to pay attention,’’ Hedman said.
According to the latest globally available WHO data, some 325 million people lived with chronic hepatitis in 2015.
WHO noted that some 1.3 million died of the liver disease that year.