90% of Delhiites not vaccinated against Hepatitis B

90% of Delhiites not yet vaccinated against Hepatitis B, says Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia.

New Delhi: Ninety percent of Delhi`s population is not yet vaccinated against Hepatitis B, which kills more people than HIV/AIDS, Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia said Saturday.

"Hepatitis, despite being as perilous as HIV, receives inadequate attention in India. It is a man-made disease and infection rate of Hepatitis is higher in adults and is more likely to be chronic in infants and young children.

"Ninety percent of the population in the national capital still needs to be vaccinated against Hepatitis B Virus," Walia said.

According to estimates from the UNAIDS 2009 AIDS Epidemic Update, around 31.3 million adults and 2.1 million children were living with HIV at the end of 2008. Hepatitis is five times more prevalent than HIV.

The Health Minister was speaking at the inaugural occasion of Hepatitis B Awareness Camp at Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, Vasant Kunj.

Hepatitis should be given as much importance as HIV and more awareness should be created about Yellow Ribbon Campaign, which aims to disseminate information about Hepatitis amongst the masses, she said.

To achieve the goal she said, "Children should be inspired to spread the awareness about Hepatitis."

Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver wherein this organ gets inflamed caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV).

Acute infection with hepatitis B usually does not require treatment.

In rare cases, however, the infection may cause life-threatening liver failure and such patients are evaluated for liver transplantation. Vaccination against this disease are effective and safe.

Supporting the concept of Hepatitis Awareness Camps in the country, Naveen Jindal, member of Parliament said, "India after China, has the second largest number of population suffering from Hepatitis B Virus, which is over 36 million.

India needs to be made a Hepatitis free country. The concept of organ donation should be promoted in the country."

S K Sarin, Director, ILBS said, "This journey is 10- year-old and with the contribution of the health department, 2.7 million children have already been vaccinated in Delhi."