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India emerging as the global Hepatitis capital, (India) organized an awareness programme for students
Published: Wednesday, Aug 3, 2011, 12:49 IST
By Kumar Chellappan
India is all set to emerge as the global capital of the dreaded Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), according to a team of doctors from MIOT Hospital in Chennai. "Forty two million Indians suffer from chronic Hepatitis B infection. The Hepatitis B Virus is responsible for 60% of liver cancer cases in India," said Dr Arul Prakash, leading gastroenterologist, MIOT Hospital.
He said conditions in India with reference to Hepatitis B vaccine is shocking. "We found that not even 1% of school children have been vaccinated against HBV. This is more shocking since there are effective vaccines available all over the world. Though a vaccine against HBV was developed in 1970, we are yet to take HBV seriously," said Dr Prakash.
According to Dr PVA Mohandas, director, MIOT Hospital, there are 400 million people chronically infected by the HBV. "What is worrying is the fact that 40% of these people will end up in cirrhosis and liver cancer," said Dr Mohandas. The team unleashed a blitzkrieg to spread a campaign on awareness programme against the HBV, a disease Dr Mohandas describes as worse as HIV/AIDS.
The team has drafted cine artist Vikram as their brand ambassador for their awareness campaign against HBV. Last Sunday saw more than 22,000 school children from 13 schools in Chennai city being given free vaccination coupons against HBV. "We have set up an Advanced Centre For Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseasesfor spreading the message about HBV all over India," said Dr Mohandas.
Dimapur, August 2 (MExN): To raise awareness about the Hepatitis virus in general, Zion Hospital and Research Centre and MSD Fulford (India) organized an awareness programme for students of Delhi Public School in Dimapur today. This is part of the commemoration of World Hepatitis Week. Dr. Tali Longkumker gave a power point presentation about Hepatitis; its causes, effects and prevention. A brief presentation about HIV and AIDS was given by Dr. Mhabemo Lotha.
Dr. Longkumer pointed out that Hepatitis kills more than one million people every year. Millions more suffer immediate sickness or long-term ill health. Hepatitis is recognised as a major global health problem, affecting more than 500 million people. Among the most common type of viral Hepatitis, Hepatitis 'B' and 'C' are the most dangerous. Hepatitis generally affects the vital organ liver, thus affecting its functioning, he said.
He said that although vaccination for Hepatitis B has become compulsory under the Universal Immunization Programme, India is still struggling to cope with the virus since it is expensive.
Dr. Longkumer said further that Hepatitis, though a deadly disease is preventable by taking precautions. Like HIV, Hepatitis B is mostly spread through sexual route; and also through needle sharing and blood transfusion. Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with Hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Today, most people become infected with hepatitis C by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. Hepatitis C can also spread through sexual routes. Dr. Longkumer said that about 2000 people have tested for Hepatitis B in Zion Hospital, out of which 3% of the total have tested positive. He said the State so far has no recorded data about the number of Hepatitis cases.
Dr. Lotha also pointed out that, HIV unlike other diseases has no cure or vaccine for protection against the virus. With 80% transmission through sexual route, Dr. Lotha advised the students to live a responsible life. A free Hepatitis camp was held at the hospital. The blood samples testing positive will be send for second reference to Delhi.
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