SOA launches tribal-centric Hepatitis Mission in Odisha

Bhubaneswar, July 28: Coinciding with the World
Hepatitis Day, Health and Family Welfare Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak on Thursday
flagged off a new initiative focused on the State’s tribal population aiming at
building awareness, prevention and eventual eradication of Viral Hepatitis.
The action plan, SOA-Adivasi Hepatitis Mission
(SOA-AHM), has been prepared by the SOA University which has been actively
involved in the fight against the dreaded infection.
Addressing a programme jointly organised by the SOA
University and State branch of Odisha Scouts and Guides here to mark the
occasion, the Minister focused on increased awareness about the Hepatitis virus
while calling for united efforts by the government and private sector
institutions in health care initiatives.
The Minister said the Government was planning to set
up low cost hospitals in the districts in Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode
so that health care could be provided to the people at their door step. He said
the stage had been set for commencement of liver transplantation at the SCB
Medical College Hospital at Cuttack.
Elaborating on the action plan, SOA University
Vice-Chancellor Prof Amit Banerjee said the university was in touch with the Government,
NGOs as well as other agencies and measures would be taken for screening nearly
four lakh tribal children in government-run schools for Hepatitis virus.
“This will be followed up with vaccination.
Eventually, the plan is to cover the entire adivasi population which is close
to one crore in Odisha,” he said.
Dr Manoj Kumar Sahu, head of the Gastroenterology
department of IMS and SUM Hospital, run by the SOA University, said
Hepatitis-B, at least 100 times deadlier than HIV, had been claiming 1.5
million lives worldwide annually despite the fact that an effective vaccine was
available since 1982.
“It is ironic that Hepatitis B causes around 4,000
deaths everyday in spite of the fact that effective drugs are available,” he
The IMS and Sum Hospital, he said, was the only
hospital in the country which was screening people for Hepatitis B virus and
conducting immunisation free of cost on all working days round the year.
The hospital had conducted 73,000 screenings and
immunised 56,000 people during the last two years, he said.
Prof. Gangadhar Sahu, Dean and Dr. Pushparaj
Samantasinhar, Medical Superintendent of the IMS and Sum Hospital respectively
and RM Dora, Secretary of state branch of Bharat Scouts and Guides, also spoke.

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