CHENNAI: Much like a factory unit, the liver, often dubbed the ‘regenerative organ’, tirelessly pumps energy from food to all parts of the body and has the unique ability to repair itself. It doubles as a de-toxifier too.
Despite this, once a liver-specific virus strikes, a downward spiral begins, leading to a disease so deadly it manifests without even one’s knowledge: Hepatitis.
On the occasion of World Hepatitis Day on July 28, the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital has planned a string of activities to raise the awareness and to reduce the rate of occurrence across the State which now stands at 2 per cent, one of the lowest in the country.
It has taken up a scheme in which schools in Tamil Nadu will take a special Hepatitis pledge to highlight knowledge on the disease which claims nearly 4,000 lives globally everyday.
India has a 2-7 per cent spread, which has shown considerable decline since intensive treatment and vaccinations began in 1999.
This year, to mark the occasion, several awareness programmes such as distributing pamphlets, staging plays and setting up vaccination kiosks have been planned.
An exhibition on liver health and awareness for the general public will also be conducted at the Department of Hepatology at the GH on July 28 between 10 am and 2 pm.
This expert-to-public interaction will help better understanding of liver issues. A study by the World Health Organisation shows that almost 80 per cent of all liver diseases is Hepatitis B. Hepatitis C that is rarer and quicker to treat, does not have explicit symptoms and can fester for years before attacking. It has therefore earned the name ‘silent killer’. Although only a simple blood test is required to detect Hepatitis, it is likely to be ignored as common fever and tiredness.
“It is a remarkable organ, acting as the body’s powerhouse. But there are no shortcuts, dietary supplements and quick fixes that can solve a liver-related issue. Improving overall health and boosting immunity need to be emphasised,” says Dr K Narayanaswamy, head, Hepatology department, GH.
Hepatitis B which takes three to four years to cure has a preventive vaccine against this DNA virus. The vaccines are available across the state and its three-dosages span 6 months for the drug to kick in fully and obliterate any sign of a Hepatotropic virus, which targets the liver.
■ Daily global deaths due to Hepatitis B: 4,000
■ Higher zone: China, Africa (Above 8 per cent)
■ Intermediate zone: India (2-7 per cent)
■ 20 million H-B and 12 million H-C carriers in India Tamil Nadu
■ 2015: Less than 2 per cent occurrence
■ 2008: Disease incidence between 3-4 per cent