New Delhi: With a theme ‘Detecting Hepatitis -The Missing Segments’, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) launched a campaign against the leading cause of Hepatitis, which affects around 60 million persons and kills 1.5 lakh people per year across the country. The campaign also marks the 21st year of the Yellow Ribbon Campaign launched in 1998 by Hepatologist Dr Shiv Sarin. Yellow ribbon marks the fight against hepatitis – the most common symptom of which is Jaundice – a condition in which the skin turns yellow.
Speaking over the inauguration, Health Minister Satyendra Jain said that government is committed to fight hepatitis infection and it would cooperate with health institutions like ILBS to promote the health and well-being of the people of Delhi. He requested everyone to improve their own health awareness, and stressed that health education should be a part of every curriculum right from school days up until higher education.
Jain also said that four crucial drugs used to increase life expectancy of patients with Hepatitis C, are available for free in Delhi govt hospitals and dispensaries. He also gave the slogan “love your liver” as a way of increasing awareness about this important organ.
Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev applauded ILBS for its never ending commitment to the cause of hepatitis elimination and assured that the Delhi govt would continue to support ILBS and its development without fail.
ILBS Director Dr SK Sarin reemphasized that only children can make a difference in the understanding of hepatitis B and expressed regret that children get this disease from their mothers for no fault of theirs. He exhorted everyone to “Be Aware and Make Aware” and to take a pledge to get every newborn vaccinated.
Dr Sarin requested the government to make Hepatitis a notifiable disease and stop discrimination of the infected and emphasized that despite liver being accountable for majority of diseases, yet other organs like heart get more public attention. “Citizens need to know that only one of 100 die of hepatitis B infection and only 10-20% of those carrying the virus will suffer from the disease,” says Dr SK Sarin.
On the occasion, ILBS also launched two new websites with the goal to spread awareness about Hepatitis B and C across the country and create an enabling environment for individuals with hepatitis and their families in India for social participation and care seeking.
Under this initiative, there would be a multi-tier oration/symposium competition for school students, wherein the students, with support from their parents and teachers, make an oration related to viral Hepatitis B and C.