Health

World Hepatitis Day: Gastro forum launches free Hepatitis Helpline

Punjab Tribune Bureau | July 28, 2020 12:27 PM

CHANDIGARH: World Hepatitis Day is commemorated each year on 28 July to enhance awareness of viral hepatitis that causes a range of health problems, including Cirrhosis and liver cancer. Cirrhosis itself leads to life threatening complications like blood vomiting, accumulation of fluid in tummy and coma, all responsible for reducing the life span of an affected individual. Diabetes Mellitus and being overweight also significantly add to the risk of Cirrhosis. 

There are five causes of viral hepatitis namely – A, B, C, D and E. While the most common cause of cirrhosis remains alcohol, hepatitis B and C are the other common cause of Cirrhosis and liver cancer, to which 1.3 million lives are lost each year. These diseases are in particular relevant to the northern states of India.
Gastroenterology and Liver Forum (GLF), Chandigarh has been doing a yeomans service in making doctors as well as general population aware of this disease and their complications in the tricity for the past many years. In light of the current COVID 19 pandemic and in line with this years theme of “Hepatitis-free future”, GLF is starting a dedicated Hepatitis helpline 0172-5068816 at their headquarters. This would be manned by experts who would counsel and guide patients.

The founder President of the Forum and a leading Gastroenterologist of the region, Dr. Sandeep Dhavan has been working tirelessly in raising awareness and treating patients with this disease. Working alongside, the Convener of the forum Dr. Gurbilas P. Singh, who trained in the UK compliments his efforts with his enthusiasm and dedication towards preventive healthcare through awareness.

In achieving this aim, GLF along with a voluntary organisation had prepared a documentary on “Hepatitis C” which not only had the distinction of being screened at the International meeting of specialists in Calcutta in December 2019 but also winning an award.This documentary has also been widely screened in Chandigarh and Punjab.The organisations efforts have led to a crusade against these viral infections targeting the liver.
In the past the forum has been raising awareness by arranging Hepatitis screening camps, awareness events in the form of ‘runs’, awareness activities with schools and colleges and academic events for healthcare professionals in peripheral areas.

Prof Y. K. Chawla, former Director of PGIMER, Chandigarh and Former Head Department of Hepatology strongly believes that such aggressive campaigns are necessary. He explains how these viruses infect and inflame the liver silently without giving any significant symptoms or signs and many a times they are diagnosed incidentally, hence rightly termed “silent killers”.

Agreeeing with Prof Chawala, Dr Sandeep Dhavan says that GLF would continue its work on World Hepatitis Alliances global campaign “find the missing millions.”

In this part of the country Hepatitis C is the commonest cause of chronic Hepatitis and combined with Hepatitis B constitute the major cause of Liver Cancer

WHO is calling on all countries to work together to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 and GLF ,Chandigarh is contributing its bit to this cause.

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