The Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) organised ‘I Pledge…(my support)’ campaign at Tiger Logistics India Ltd., here today.
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 and C. 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.
To address this problem, 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 with respect to Hepatitis and developing and promoting positive behaviours at individual, community and societal levels for infected individuals.
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. This initiative also seeks to engage the people who sign the pledge as teachers; generating a dialogue on the subject, to create a ripple-effect about prevention of viral hepatitis B & C, in their social circles; key message being – ‘by very simple precautions and low-cost interventions one can easily prevent and treat viral hepatitis B & C’.
The program started with a warm welcome address by Shri Harpreet Singh Malhotra, Managing Director at Tiger Logistics (India) Ltd. The key-note address was given by Dr. Neeraj Raizada, Assistant Professor and Nodal Officer of The Empathy Campaign, Institute of Liver & Biliary Sciences. The importance of early screening for Hepatitis B & C and vaccination against Hepatitis B was emphasised and the administrative staff at Tiger House was encouraged to get themselves tested and vaccinated. Parvaah the in-house NGO of Tiger Logistics has helped a lot to manage all required arrangements and give much motivation to spread the awareness.
Ms. Benu Malhotra, Director-Tiger Logistics (India) Ltd. while addressing the gathering emphasised on the ill effects of Hepatitis-the disease and the virus infection and urged their staff to get tested and vaccinated both.
Following this, the staff and the management at Tiger House took the pledge for extending their support 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; wherein more than 140 persons joined the cause.
This event generated a chain of champions for the cause i.e.,‘Ending the Hepatitis B & C epidemic’, at Tiger Logistics (India) Ltd., each talking to many, and growing number of people within the neighbourhood 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 work place and in the society.