Health Minister Mitcy Larue’s message on the occasion of International Hepatitis Day- ‘Prevent yourself and those close to you’


“Today, the world has come together to mark the World Hepatitis Day under the theme ‘This is hepatitis… It’s closer than you think’.

“It is a day for all of us not only to think but act to further prevent our families from being infected with this deadly disease. For the first time, Seychelles is joining other nations to make this annual event one that provides international focus for vulnerable groups and people living with hepatitis. 

“Worldwide a million or so deaths annually are attributed to hepatitis infection. It is the main cause of liver cancer in the world accounting for 78% of cases. Nearly one out of every three persons in the world, which is approximately 2 billion people, has been infected. Most worrying is that in most cases those people are not even aware that they have been infected with the virus and face the possibility of developing a liver disease at some point in their lives and also unknowingly transmitting the virus to others.

“Hepatitis is a hidden epidemic with significant public health consequences. This year’s theme serves to remind us that it is a disease that is ‘out there’, affecting and infecting ‘people’.

The recent surveys done in Seychelles have clearly indicated that hepatitis C infection is high in certain population groups. These young men and women have their families, their friends and the virus can be transmitted to them. This can happen through sexual contacts and sharing equipments such as syringes and needles and razors.

“Hepatitis is indeed in our community and homes and treatment is complicated and very expensive with uncertain outcome. The best strategy is to prevent yourself and those close to you from contracting it by avoiding exposure. If you are already infected, prevent transmission to others by taking all the necessary precautions.

“I therefore call upon all who believe in prevention – parents, individuals, NGOs, religious groups and other national organisations – to join hands in this national battle against HIV and hepatitis. Make it your duty to combat illicit drug use that remains the main mode of transmission of hepatitis C and together we shall influence real change in disease preventions.

“Let the International Hepatitis Day 2012 serve as a reminder that there is much more to be done to combat this silent epidemic of viral hepatitis.”