With an approximate five crore people suffering from hepatitis B and C in India, the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) are jointly sensitising people to eliminate the burden of the viral disease from the country.
Under the aegis of 'The EMPATHY CAMPAIGN, Empowering People Against Hepatitis', a ten-day massive awareness campaign was carried out at various locations of the Delhi Metro network. The initiative engaged over 10,000 commuters every day to generate awareness regarding the silent epidemic hepatitis B and C.
Last year, the project was funded by the Airport Authority of India (AAI) under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative and will continue for four years.
"The EMPATHY campaign aimed at adopting innovative approaches at spreading awareness regarding the epidemic of viral hepatitis B and C. Unfortunately, nearly 90 per cent of the people harbouring the disease are not aware of their infection. Through this activity, we aim to generate community awareness and action against this disease. The 'Delhi Metro Hepatitis Drive' has given us some confidence that the public in Delhi is becoming aware of the menace of Hepatitis B and C," said (Prof) Dr Shiv K. Sarin, Director, ILBS.
(Prof) Dr Neeraj Raizada, Professor of epidemiology at ILBS and in charge of the project told ANI: "About five crore people in India are living with viral hepatitis B and C. Most of them are unaware because in early stage, the disease is asymptomatic. Many patients reach to us in the advanced stages when a major part of the liver gets damaged. Hence, awareness is very important. People should go and get themselves screened."
Volunteers at the metro stations spread awareness about Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), the lesser-known of the viral hepatitis infections.
"They also explained the importance of screening for Hepatitis B and C to the commuters and encouraged them to get tested in time and get vaccinated against Hepatitis B as a preventive measure," Raizada said.
"Delhi Metro witnesses a huge footfall each day. We have been actively involved in organising awareness drives. We are happy to extend our support to ILBS in the fight against Hepatitis B and C which is a key health issue," said a senior metro spokesperson.
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