9 in 10 Delhiites still need to be vaccinated against Hepatitis B Virus: Experts

New Delhi, Dec.4 (ANI): Experts attending a Hepatitis B Awareness Camp" at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in Vasant Kunj, South Delhi, on Saturday said that nine out of every ten residents in New Delhi still need to be vaccinated against the Hepatitis B virus.

The event, which was organized jointly by the Delhi Government, the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) and the Amity Group, aimed "to create and disseminate awareness amongst school students and the general public regarding the deadly disease Hepatitis.

The purpose of the Camp was to 'Cry for a neglected disease which kills more than HIV'

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a blood borne and sexually transmitted virus which causes Hepatitis B.

According to estimates from the UNAIDS 2009 AIDS Epidemic Update, around 31.3 million adults and 2.1 million children were living with HIV at the end of 2008. Hepatitis is five times more prevalent than HIV.

The chief guest and Delhi's Health Minister Kiran Walia said: "Hepatitis, despite being as perilous as HIV, receives inadequate attention in India. Hepatitis is a man made disease. Infection rate of Hepatitis is higher in adults and is more likely to be chronic in infants and young children."

Walia stressed that the tackling of Hepatitis should be given as much importance as HIV and more and more awareness should be created about "Yellow Ribbon Campaign", which aims to disseminate information about Hepatitis amongst the masses.

Member of Parliament from Kurukshetra and the guest of honour, Naveen Jindal, said: "India, after China, has the second largest number of population suffering from Hepatitis B Virus, which is over 36 million .India needs to be made a Hepatitis free country."

"The concept of organ donation should be promoted in the country. People should be educated about the importance of organ donation and they should be encouraged to take pledge to donate their organs after death," he added.

Dr.Ashok K Chauhan- Founder President, Amity Group said: "The first step towards prevention of Hepatitis is to create awareness about the disease on large scale even in the remotest parts of the country. People have very less information about Hepatitis which, surprisingly, kills more people than HIV."

Dwelling on the initiatives taken by Amity International Schools and Amity Universities to prevent and check Hepatitis, Dr. Chauhan averred, "Every year, Amity International Schools and Amity Universities observe Hepatitis Day wherein short documentary films on Hepatitis, made by the students of Amity School of Communications with the help of their teachers and faculty members are screened in the schools and Universities, disseminating awareness amongst the students and staff."

Dr. S.K Sarin, Director, ILBS said that "this journey is 10 years old and with the contribution of the health department, 2.7 million children have been vaccinated in Delhi."

He advised the audience to carry the message of " Hepatitis free India" all over the country and become ambassadors to check the spread of Hepatitis in the country, which needs everyone's contribution.

Over 16 schools from Delhi and the National Capital region (NCR)participated in the awareness campaign.

Free Hepatitis B vaccination and health check up camps were also organized during the day. (ANI)

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