New Delhi, July 28 Calling hepatitis a serious challenge, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, here on Tuesday, urged members of Parliament to spread awareness about the liver disease amid Covid-19 pandemic.
Observing that the care of liver during the difficult times of Covid-19 is important, Birla said it was the lawmakers' duty to sensitise people and make the fight against the pandemic a mass movement.
"Hepatitis is a serious challenge that can be overcome only with collective effort and resolve. For this, the role of public representatives, especially MPs, becomes crucial," Birla said on the occasion of World Hepatitis Day.
He was chairing the 'Empathy Conclave 2020', organised by the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) at the Parliament House.
The theme of this year's event was 'Keep your liver safe in times of Covid-19.' The Speaker said 2030 deadline had been set for eradication of hepatitis and hoped India would be able to meet this objective.
Birla commended the role played by ILBS in the fight against hepatitis B and C, and thanked Dr S.K. Sarin, ILBS Director, for his dedication to the cause of eradication of the liver diseases in India.
Birla said the government had taken comprehensive steps to lower the Covid-19 pandemic's impact and the results were encouraging. He hoped a vaccine for it would be discovered soon.
While Birla and Minister of Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan attended the event physically from the Speaker's Chamber, Minister of Law and Justice, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad, other MPs and dignitaries, through video link.
Vardhan thanked Birla for providing such a platform for eradication of hepatitis and for his wholehearted support to this cause. He said the government had announced a Rs 15,000 crore package to deal with the coronavirus crisis.
The Finance Commission had agreed to include a special chapter related to health financing in its report, he added.
Earlier, Dr Sarin welcomed the participants and gave a short presentation on the importance of liver health and the scale of hepatitis infections in India. The health of liver, he said was directly linked to many diseases, like diabetes, hypertension and heart ailments, thus it was extremely important to take care of the liver.
( With inputs from IANS )