CHENNAI: Under the bright evening sky on Friday, Thozhi, a Chennai-based organisation for transgender rights, along with SIMS Hospitals, successfully conducted a free Hepatitis B vaccination drive for the transgender community in Chetpet. As part of World Immunization Week, the camp was arranged to create awareness regarding the importance of hepatitis vaccination. This particular initiative will continue through May 5 at SIMS Hospitals with the goal of providing 1,000 free Hepatitis B vaccines to the transgender community. Dr Kuganantham P, head of department, Social Medicines, SIMS Hospitals, and Namitha Marimuthu, actor and social activist inaugurated the event.
“Hepatitis B is a potentially fatal liver disease caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV),” said Dr Kuganantham. “In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 296 million people in India had chronic hepatitis B infection, with 1.5 million new infections per year and over 1,15,000 deaths due to hepatitis B-related complications.”
At the inauguration, Namitha said, “I am glad to be a part of this vaccination camp and I would like to congratulate SIMS Hospitals for having taken this wonderful initiative for our community. Most people are unaware of the risks of not being vaccinated with Hepatitis B and I am happy that with this drive, awareness has been raised for the condition.”
Dr Raju Sivaswamy, vice president, SIMS Hospital, represented the cause by saying, “We are striving to create awareness on Hepatitis B. Such vaccines are usually given to children, but adults require revaccination of one or two boosters owing to the risk of an infection, in the later stages. Hence, SIMS in association with Thozhi is trying to reach out to proffer preventive and prophylactic care along with raising awareness on the importance of the vaccine.”
Thozhi’s initiative to vaccinate the transgender community at Chetpet has been congratulated by all. As a trust working towards the upliftment of the community by providing shelter to many, “Thozhi aims to create an unprejudiced environment, ensuring that the community has access equal access to all services and that, when they need help, they have it, especially in the area of healthcare. The organisation strives to create awareness about understanding the trans community,” said Sudha, founder, and director of Thozhi Trust.
“Many are being tested positive for Hepatitis B these days. I am glad this initiative aids trans people in our shelter Few people in the shelter were not eligible because of old age or other health ailments, but the remaining who are eligible are getting the vaccination. I am also delighted that SIMS Hospital has promised to provide the second vaccination dose for free,” she added.