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World Hepatitis Day, July 2016

World Hepatitis Day- 28th July, 2016

The World Health Organisation (WHO), in collaboration with the National AIDS Control Organisation, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), organized an event on World Hepatitis Day in Mumbai on 28th July, 2016.

The theme for this year's World Hepatitis Day was "Know Hepatitis - Act Now".

The Guest of Honour for the event was Hon’ble Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare Ms. AnupriyaPatel and Actor Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. Many senior officials from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and WHO graced the event.
Union Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Ms. Anupriya Patel said India has a huge burden of viral hepatitis and represents approximately 40% of Hepatitis B and 20% of Hepatitis C carriers in the South / South East Asian Regions. “Government of India realizes the importance of hepatitis prevention and is aware that India is endemic for Hepatitis B. Hence, through Ministry’s flagship programme – Indra Dhanush, Government plans to vaccinate all children up to the age of two years by 2020 for seven diseases including Hepatitis B” she added. Ms Patel said, the work has been taken up on a war footing and in the first phase 7.6 million children have been immunized. The Minister also informed that the government has taken up the task as a major public health response and it is proposed to include Hepatitis in the new health insurance scheme to ensure that people are not pushed into poverty while getting treated for their illnesses.

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who is the brand ambassador for creating awareness about Hepatitis, called for higher budget to be invested on the prevention of the fatal disease. He said the awareness needed to be extended on to the ‘Aanganwaadis’, the government run women and children centres. “There are various programmes that the government does. We need to have a designated amount of budget put across towards hepatitis so that we can all work towards its eradication” he said. Advising those afflicted with liver ailments not to lose heart, the 73-year-old actor said, "If I am standing here today, you are looking at a person who is surviving with 25 per cent of liver. That is the bad part. But the good part is you can survive even with 12 per cent. So anyone can survive by taking medicines and regular tests."

According to WHO, around the world 400 million people are infected with hepatitis B and C, more than 10 times the number of people living with HIV. An estimated 1.45 million people died of the disease in 2013 up from less than a million in 1990.

Various stakeholders from the academia, clinicians, public health experts, civil society and partner agencies also attended the event. Four technical sessions were organised to deliberate on the various aspects of hepatitis and understand the global strategy for hepatitis prevention and treatment.