India stands against Viral hepatitis which has been recognized as an important public health problem across the world by launching a national programme aimed at eliminating the disease.
Union minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey alongside Amitabh Bachchan, the goodwill ambassador for hepatitis, WHO South-East Asia Region, launched the campaign on Sunday.
Bachchan adressed the audience and said , “I am here today because I am a Hepatitis B victim. While shooting for the film Coolie, I got injured and required a lot of blood; the blood given by 200 donors saved my life, but one of the donors was carrying the Hepatitis B virus.
“The detection process for that virus was not in order at that time, and that went into my system. This was discovered only in 2005, when I came to know that 75 per cent of my liver had been destroyed. I am a living example of a Hepatitis B victim.”
The NVHCP website was also launched on the occasion. According to WHO estimates, viral hepatitis caused 1.34 million deaths globally in 2015, a number comparable to deaths due to tuberculosis, worldwide. In India, it is estimated that there are 4 crore people suffering from Hepatitis B and 0.6-1.2 crore people suffering from Hepatitis C, a ministry statement said.
The action plan was developed by experts from across the country. It provides a strategic framework, based on which the National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme was framed and launched in July 2018 under National Health Mission by the Health Ministry.
Today, we have taken a pledge to fight hepatitis; while we have done this in the presence of hundreds of people, the message should go to crores of people,” Choubey said.India is one of the few countries to roll out management of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C in a public health approach and offer free diagnostics and drugs lifelong to its beneficiaries.
The aim of the programme is to combat hepatitis and achieve countrywide elimination of Hepatitis C by 2030.