80% of Indians not aware if infected with viral B and C hepatitis

New Delhi: Hepatitis has become a global health problem yet an estimated 80 per cent of persons with chronic viral B and C hepatitis in India, who are at increased risk for liver cancer and chronic liver disease, do not know that they are infected, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday said.
Welcoming everyone to the 2nd Empathy e-Conclave, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “The theme of this year’s conclave is “Keep your Liver Safe in Covid times”, which is apt and important especially in these testing times. Under the guidance of the Prime Minister, the pre-emptive and proactive measures taken have helped us control the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.”
He said viral hepatitis is a very common and serious disease in India, but is virtually unknown to health care providers and the general public.
Highlighting the need to create mass awareness and community mobilisation, Dr Harsh Vardhan appealed to all participants especially from industries, NGOs and other fraternity to support ILBS in this campaign and all those present to act as a champion/ambassador in spreading awareness about the silent epidemics of Hepatitis B & C and help remove the stigma attached to these diseases, an official release here said.
The e-conclave, has been organised on the occasion of “World Hepatitis Day” with Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla as chief guest and Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister of Law and Justice (who participated digitally). The event was organised by Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in collaboration with Airports Authority of India (AAI) for creating awareness among Parliamentarians.
On the contribution of ILBS, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “ILBS is also a WHO collaborative centre. It helped in the development of the National Viral Hepatitis Programme which was launched on July 28, 2018. It is the largest programme for Hepatitis B and C diagnosis and treatment in the world. We have made seminal progress in reaching out to the people and now every state has several model treatment units.”
The Minister also congratulated Dr S K Sarin and Team ILBS for their tireless efforts towards the fight against ongoing Covid–19 pandemic by testing SARS-Cov-2 samples since the past four months. “It’s indeed been a matter of pride that the country’s first Plasma Bank was made functional at ILBS. Plasma warriors have been selfless contributors helping in improving Recovery Rate in India.”
All participants later took a pledge of “Healthy Liver–Healthy India” by committing to care for the liver even during the Covid-19 pandemic and spread the same message to at least ten people. The event concluded with a vote of thanks.