With newly released figures revealing that the Department of Health’s public hepatitis C awareness campaign is failing, Dame Anita Roddick speaking for the first time on her experience of the disease, has accused the Government of not doing enough.
Dame Anita said:
?There are hundreds of thousands of people out there with undiagnosed hepatitis C and we are failing to reach them in anything like sufficient numbers. We need a major campaign to alert them because they are at serious risk of developing irreversible and potentially fatal liver disease.?
The latest quarterly Health Protection Agency figures (July to September 2006) show the number of new hepatitis C diagnoses have almost halved to just 1,128 from 2,005 in the previous quarter (April to June 2006) despite the on-going Department of Health ?FaCe It!? awareness campaign. Dame Anita said;
?I am astounded by these figures. Why isn?t more being done? It?s the Government that needs to FaCe It! – face the facts that people are dying needlessly. The Government are spending ?40 million telling people to switch their TVs to digital, and a fraction of that ensuring that those at risk from hepatitis C are diagnosed in time!?
Citing her own experience publicly for the very first time, Dame Anita added:
?I was diagnosed with hepatitis C three years ago. I contracted it from a contaminated blood transfusion after the birth of my daughter 30 years ago. Because I was undiagnosed for so long, I now have liver cirrhosis and need to be regularly tested for tumours. Hepatitis C can be contracted in so many ways, yet so few people seem to be aware that they are at risk.
?I urge anyone who thinks they could have come into contact with infected blood to get tested and, in particular, anyone who had a blood transfusion before blood screening started in 1991. Please, please take this seriously.?
As part of her commitment to making a difference for people with hepatitis C, Dame Anita has become a patron of The Hepatitis C Trust, the national UK hepatitis C charity. Charles Gore, the Chief Executive, said:
?We are absolutely delighted that someone so dynamic and with such a history of fighting passionately for important causes has agreed to support us. Like many people with hepatitis C, Anita is taking control of her health and speaking out about the urgent action needed to deal with this immediate public health challenge. Anita is exactly the person we need to catapult hepatitis C into the national consciousness and in doing so, we hope will help to save thousands of lives.?
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Sub-editorHepatitis :: Dame Anita Roddick demands more government action to combat Hepatitis C
by Sub-editor ( Author at Spirit India )
Posted on February 14th, 2007 at 12:44 pm.
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