Ludhiana, July 28th 2012: The Department of Gastroenterology at SPS Apollo Hospitals organized a series of awareness initiatives and a two-day free screening camp on the occasion of World Hepatitis Day.
More than 1000 free screenings were performed over the past 2 days. Over 100 patients participated in an interactive patient education forum with Dr.NirmaljeetMalhi, Senior Consultant and Coordinator, Department of Gastroenterology and Dr.HarmeetSaljua, Senior Consultant, Department of Gastroenterology. According to Dr.Malhi, the forum laid special emphasis on early detection, timely treatment and need for vaccination against Hepatitis B as an important preventive measure. The hospital also distributed free information booklets and education material to the patients.
On this occasion, SPS Apollo Hospitals also organized a ‘Balloon Ceremony’, in an effort to raise awareness and educate people about Hepatitis and also encourage them to undergo regular screenings for hepatitis. Earlier during the day, SPS Apollo Hospitals also organized a quiz competition on awareness regarding hepatitis. 40 people in 10 different teams took part in this quiz. A poster making competition on the theme ‘how healthy is your liver’ was also organized and messages on keeping your liver healthy and preventing hepatitis were disseminated through these posters, which would be on display across the hospital in the coming days.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr.Malhi said, “Seeing the low awareness levels about hepatitis, it is essential to organize such awareness initiatives educate people about hepatitis”. These low awareness levels need to be improved as the disease burden caused by hepatitis is very large and the numbers chronically affected with and annually killed by Hepatitis B & C viruses are more HIV/AIDS or TB, added Dr.Saluja.
The theme for World Hepatitis Day 2012 is “This is Hepatitis…its closer than you think”. Keeping this theme in mind SPS Apollo Hospitals organized a 2 day free screening camp for hepatitis. More than 1000 free screenings were conducted for patients across the region. With every 1 out of 12 people across the world affected by hepatitis, it should not be ignored. Importantly, still there is no vaccine against Hepatitis C, so prevention through regular screenings remains the key, added Dr.Saluja.
Hepatitis (swelling of liver) is caused primarily by a group of viruses (A,B,C,D,E) and heavy alcohol use, besides many other causes. Hepatitis B & C are the more dreaded form of the viruses, as they act as silent killers in majority. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of their positive status. Dr.Malhi, stressed that majority of people harboring the infection are without symptoms, being totally unaware of the ongoing damage which in many would lead on to irreversible scarring of liver (Cirrhosis), liver failure , liver cancer & death.
The important modes of transmission include transfusion of infected blood & blood products, unprotected sexual contact with an infected person, use of contaminated needles & syringes and from an infected mother to baby at the time of birth. Preventive measures include vaccination against Hepatitis B of all HBV negative un-immunized people, use of universal precautions by medical ¶-medics and strict use of disposable needles & syringes for administration of injections.
According to Dr.Malhi, every year SPS Apollo Hospitals has endeavoured to use the World Hepatitis Day as a platform to step up efforts in creating awareness regarding hepatitis and to ensure reliable, safe and affordabletreatment against hepatitis to be accessible to the people of Punjab.