‘Aim to make city Hepatitis-free’

Expressing concern over the lack of awareness about liver diseases among the community, Delhi Health minister Satyendar Jain on Friday vowed to make the national Capital Hepatitis-free and urged people to reduce alcohol intake as a precautionary measure.

“Awareness regarding liver diseases is sorely lacking in the community. We aim to make Delhi Hepatitis-free and to ensure that people need to give importance to moderation in eating and lifestyle habits.

“In recent years, the society has accepted consumption of alcohol as a status symbol. I urge the community to pledge to reduce their alcohol intake by at least a small amount to start with,” Jain said at the 18th Hepatitis Day celebrations at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS).

The minister also reiterated his commitment to open five new centres of excellence of ILBS, a move aimed at tackling and spreading more awareness about the disease.

The new centres will be opened in other areas of Delhi in a time-bound manner setting the same day next year as deadline, Jain said.

ILBS Director SK Sarin pointed out at the alarming increase in the cases of Heptatis B and C over the years. “ILBS alone has over 7,500 patients registered with either of these diseases on regular follow up. These numbers are only expected to go up with time. Also, we have observed a sharp increase in the number of patients reporting with Hepatocellular carcinoma, a cancer of the liver which is strongly correlated with Hepatitis C,” he said.

Sarin also objected to the current mindset of society toward the patients of Hepatitis.

“We have frequently been counselling Hepatitis patients. This is really a matter of serious concern that the patients of the disease are being stigmatised,” he said, adding that there is a need to create awareness about the disease on various platforms. 
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