Gurugram, May 31, 2019: Suncity School, Sector 54, Gurugram hosted ‘I Pledge… (My support)’ campaign organised by the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS). Over 500 people including teachers, staff and workers availed benefits from this event. This activity was undertaken as a part of ‘Empowering People Against Hepatitis: The EMPATHY Campaign’ project being implemented by ILBS that aims to spread pan India awareness on the menace of viral hepatitis B & C.
To sensitize and educate people on aspects of Hepatitis, an awareness talk followed by a free health camp for screening of Hepatitis B & C and vaccination for Hepatitis B was also organised at the premises in the presence of the esteemed guests – Shri Laxmi Narain Goel, Chairman, Suncity School, Mrs. Rupa Chakravarty, Head, Suncity School & Dr. Neeraj Raizada, Assistant Professor-Epidemiology, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences and Nodal Officer of The Empathy Campaign, Institute of Liver & Biliary Sciences.
The key note address was given by Dr. Neeraj Raizada. The importance of screening for hepatitis B & C and vaccination against Hepatitis B was emphasised and people were encouraged to get themselves tested and vaccinated for the same.
He said, “Mortality rate from Hepatitis is rising on an alarming level, it is vital to take steps to prevent the infection & keep your liver healthy. We have high impact & cost-effective interventions to prevent the onset of the disease such as Hepatitis B vaccination, but it is important to talk about it & then tested in time.”
Shri Laxmi Narain Goel also addressed the staff of the Suncity School and emphasised on the ill-effects of Hepatitis – the disease and the virus infection.
Speaking about the cause, Mrs. Rupa Chakravarty, Head, Suncity School said, “We have associated with ILBS to support and promote the cause. The idea behind this association is to generate a dialog amongst the community through teachers, staff, parents and students. For the cause, I-Pledge my support to extend the message to the community by reaching out and Suncity school stakeholders who are always committed to contribute to the welfare of the society in every way possible.”
To address the problem of Hepatitis B & C, ILBS has undertaken a comprehensive program, namely, “Empowering People Against Hepatitis:The EMPATHY Campaign”, which is supported by AAI under its Corporate Social Responsibility, to generate awareness on Hepatitis B and C across India through multi-pronged advocacy strategies for improving healthcare seeking behaviour.
The ‘I Pledge…(my support)’ initiative, a component of the EMPATHY Campaign, focuses on spreading awareness in large corporate offices including public and private, and sensitizing the staff of the organization and encourage them to pledge their support for spreading awareness about viral hepatitis, and to contribute in its prevention and early management.
Following this, all staff also extended their support by sharing their pledge for the cause. ILBS team also held a free screening cum vaccination camp for them; wherein they were vaccinated against Hepatitis B and screened for Hepatitis B & C, on voluntary basis.
About 60 million Indians are inflicted with Hepatitis B and C virus infections which are responsible for liver cirrhosis and cancer. Majority harbouring the infection are undiagnosed and unaware of their status. While several initiatives are currently being undertaken by the Govt. under the National Viral Hepatitis Control Program, to improve access to vaccines, diagnostics and treatment for such individuals and those at risk but the stigma and consequent discrimination associated with these infections is a significant hindrance to care-seeking, compliance and mainstreaming, as often the infected do not want to be identified for the fear of social isolation.
This event generated a chain of champions for the cause i.e., ‘Ending the Hepatitis B & C epidemic’, at Suncity School, each talking to many, and growing number of people within the teaching fraternity and in their society becoming aware about the menace of Hepatitis B and C and pledging to get screened, and treated for hepatitis and to help those infected by supporting them and giving them their due at the work place and in the society.