October 14, 2019
The Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in association with Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) Limited organised ‘I Pledge… (my support)’ activity at WAPCOS Limited Corporate office at Gurugram. Over 400 employees availed the benefit of the campaign, got tested free of cost for Hepatitis B & C and were vaccinated against Hepatitis B. This activity was undertaken as a part of ‘Empowering People Against Hepatitis: The EMPATHY Campaign’ Project conceptualized by Padma Bhushan recipient Dr. Shiv Kumar Sarin, Director, Institute of Liver & Biliary Sciences and supported by Airports Authority of India (AAI) under its CSR, being implemented by ILBS that aims to spread pan India awareness on the menace of viral hepatitis B & C.
Dr. Neeraj Raizada, Assistant Professor-Epidemiology, and PI (Project Empathy), ILBS at WAPCOS Limited during the awareness talk on Hepatitis B & C
ILBS team organized an awareness talk to sensitize and educate WAPCOS Limited’s management & staff on various aspects of Hepatitis B & C. Dr. Neeraj Raizada, Assistant Professor-Epidemiology, and PI (Project Empathy), ILBS and senior officials of WAPCOS Limited were present on the occasion.
WAPCOS Limited taking the pledge against Hepatitis B & C
Dr. Neeraj Raizada, addressed the gathering and explained the importance of screening of Hepatitis B & C. While giving the keynote address, he said, “Hepatitis is a silent epidemic and according to Global Hepatitis Report 2017, only 10% of the people who are infected, know their status. Symptoms mostly present after extensive liver damage has already happened. Hence it is very important that we get tested when we are asymptomatic before any liver damage has happened and also get vaccinated for Hepatitis B.”
To address the problem of Hepatitis B & C, ILBS has undertaken a comprehensive program, namely, “Empowering People Against Hepatitis: The EMPATHY Campaign”, to generate awareness on Hepatitis B and C across India through multi-pronged advocacy strategies for improving healthcare seeking behaviour.
Following this, all staff also extended their full support by sharing their pledge for the cause. ILBS team conducted a free screening cum vaccination for the employees. 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 WAPCOS Limited, each talking to ten, and growing the number of people within the organisation and in their society becoming aware of 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 workplace and in the society.