New Delhi : Vice President of India and Chairman of Rajya Sabha Shri Venkaiah Naidu along with Speaker of Lok Sabha Shri Om Birla chaired an event today to sensitise the parliamentarians on Hepatitis on the occasion of World Hepatitis Day 2022. Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare apprised the audience on the situation of Hepatitis in the country and explained the need to rapidly eliminate the disease.
This year’s theme is: “Bringing hepatitis care closer to you”, aimed to simplify hepatitis care and to take hepatitis care to primary health care centers and community locations, and to take hepatitis care beyond the confines of major hospitals.
The event was jointly organized by Parliament of India and Institute of Liver & Biliary Sciences at the Parliamentary Research and Training Institute for Democracies (PRIDE).
Thanking the parliamentarians for their enthusiastic participation, Vice President expressed his deep concern over the issue of hepatitis and called upon all parliamentarians to take the cause of a hepatitis-free India to their constituencies and spread the message in vernacular languages for more impact and to change the social fabric.
Lok Sabha Speaker Shri Om Birla, calling for a collective action against Hepatitis, emphasized the crucial role played by the Parliament in disseminating the message in a country full of diversity. He said that it is responsibility of the people’s representatives to ensure that their constituencies have constant identification and monitoring of the Hepatitis patients, look after the needs of patients during and post treatment.
Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya noted, “Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji played a huge role in moulding thinking of the country towards making health a ‘comprehensive’ subject by linking it with development.” Giving examples of programmes like TB elimination, he said that all these programmes ultimately improve the social determinants of health thereby improving the living standards of India’s population.
Underlining the challenges in the diagnosis of hepatitis in early stages, Union Health Minister highlighted the importance of early detection for timely treatment. “Our COVID management learning has demonstrated that Test, Trace and Treat strategy worked well. Most people remain unaware of hepatitis at the early stages, as either they have no symptoms or there are such symptoms on the basis of which it is difficult to diagnose the disease. To allay this, and to reduce the burden of disease among the community, we need to screen high-risk groups including family members of hepatitis B patients and those who have received or are receiving repeated blood transfusions, are on dialysis, are infected with HIV or who are immune are compromised, he noted.
Accentuating the New Global Health Sector Strategies for the period 2022-2030 that aim to eliminate HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections by 2030, Dr Mandaviya highlighted that the number of deaths from Hepatitis B in a day is more than the number of deaths from HIV in a year. “Therefore, over the years, Viral Hepatitis B and C have become a global health problem and significant cause of death. Around 4000 people die of viral hepatitis in a day in the world. About 40 million people in India are suffering from Hepatitis B and C infection”, he added.
Dr Mansukh Mandaviya exhorted states to launch Jan Abhiyaan with log bhaagidari (people’s participation) to enthuse and engage citizens and communities to ensure a Hepatitis Free India. He also suggested everyone to work in a mission mode to eradicate hepatitis and make it a Jan Andolan by adopting three-pronged approach of Prevention, Testing and Treatment.
All parliamentarians also took pledge to not discriminate people living with Hepatitis and contribute in empowering people against Hepatitis during the awareness session.
Shri Utpal Kumar Singh, Secretary General, Lok Sabha, Shri Harivansh Narayan Singh, Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Shri Vinay Kumar Saxena, Lt. Governor, Delhi, Dr. S. K. Sarin, Vice Chancellor, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, Shri Prasenjit Singh, Additional Secretary, Lok Sabha Secretariat were also present.