Tamil Nadu

Campaign to create awareness of Hepatitis B virus launched

Actor Vikram with a child who was administered free Hepatitis B vaccination at the Liver 4 Life campaign in Chennai on Sunday. P.V.A. Mohandas, founder and managing director, MIOT Hospitals, is in the picture. Photo: R. Shivaji Rao

Actor Vikram with a child who was administered free Hepatitis B vaccination at the Liver 4 Life campaign in Chennai on Sunday. P.V.A. Mohandas, founder and managing director, MIOT Hospitals, is in the picture. Photo: R. Shivaji Rao  

Actor Vikram hopes tagline “B Podu” catches on

This is one campaign that intends to go viral, especially among schoolchildren and college-going youth.

“Liver 4 Life”, an initiative launched by MIOT Hospitals, aims to raise public understanding about the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and promote vaccination against infection by organising a series of free camps.

Actor Vikram, who kicked off the campaign, was quick to spot the resemblance the tagline “B Podu” has with a hit song in one of his popular films “Gemini”.

Admitting that this was a wonderful campaign strategy — indeed one that made him go “wow” — the actor hoped that the initiative would become as widely accepted as the “O Podu” song that enjoyed almost anthem-like popularity.

“Maybe we should even compose a song that goes “B Podu”, he remarked.

“Liver for Life” is something bigger than an initiative or thought; it is a wonderful movement, said Mr. Vikram, who is Youth Envoy of UN Habitat.

The actor later distributed prizes to the winners of a school-level quiz contest on health.

P.V.A. Mohandas, MIOT founder and Managing Director, said the fact that about 40 per cent of those chronically infected by HBV developed one of the two serious complications — cirrhosis and cancer of the liver — reflected the magnitude of the problem.

A liberal philanthropy culture has helped the hospital put the awareness-cum-vaccination campaign together, Dr. Mohandas said. The donors helped MIOT mobilise Rs. 37 lakh for the programme.

MIOT had sent out 1.70 lakh invitations to the public and distributed free coupons to an estimated 22,000 students in 13 city schools and Day One of the vaccination drive evoked a huge response with registrations crossing 20,000.

“Our aim is to take the campaign all over Tamil Nadu and, if possible, across the country,” Dr. Mohandas said.

The campaign will feature health exhibitions, screening and vaccination, said George Chandy, Director of MIOT's Advanced Center for Gastro Intestinal and Liver Diseases that is leading the whole programme.

“Yellow Ribbon Clubs” have been formed in schools on the lines of the “Red Ribbon Clubs” (for HIV/AIDS awareness) to disseminate awareness on HBV, Dr. Chandy said.

Mallika Mohandas, MIOT Chairman, and Prithvi Mohandas, Joint Managing Director, also participated.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 5:48:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/campaign-to-create-awareness-of-hepatitis-b-virus-launched/article2311475.ece

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