New Delhi: The 2nd Empathy e-Conclave was organised on the occasion of “World Hepatitis Day”. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla along with Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister of Law and Justice (participated digitally) and Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare took part in the Conclave. The event was organised by Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in collaboration with Airport Authority of India (AAI) for creating awareness among the parliamentarians.
Dr. S. K. Sarin, Director, ILBS highlighted the importance of healthy liver and features of “Empowering People Against Hepatitis: The Empathy Campaign”by ILBS in partnership with AAI, undertaking several innovative initiatives across the country and reaching out to diverse populations.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said, “We are committed to the WHO goals of elimination of Hepatitis C and of reducing the burden of Hepatitis B by 2030. We, as the representatives of people of India, have a larger responsibility of spreading awareness in people about this disease so as to make this a Jan Andolan.”
Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “While the mortality due to COVID-19 is approximately 2 to 3 % and most cases are largely asymptomatic, it is important to create awareness about the higher risk of both morbidity and mortality faced by people with co-morbidities like diabetes, obesity and fatty liver, chronic liver diseases. The Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres are tirelessly working for screening of such conditions.”
Highlighting the issue to creating mass awareness and community mobilisation, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “Hepatitis has become a global health problem. Viral Hepatitis is a very common and serious disease in India, but is virtually unknown to health care providers and the general public. Individuals with viral B & C hepatitis are at increased risk for liver cancer and chronic liver disease, yet an estimated 80 percent of persons with chronic viral hepatitis do not know that they are infected. The mantra to educating people is “Talk Test & Treat”. I request all my colleagues present here 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.”
Dr. Harsh Vardhan further said, “ILBS is also a WHO collaborative centre. It helped in the development of the National Viral Hepatitis Program which was launched on July 28, 2018. It is the largest program 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.”
Dr. Harsh Vardhan 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 last four months.