Durex led The Birds and Bees Talk celebrates World Hepatitis Day

Gangtok : Reckitt, the global leader in consumer-healthcare led The Birds and Bees Talk programme, celebrated World Hepatitis Day in the six states of North-Eastern India - Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur and Mizoram. To mark the occasion, the Durex- led “The Birds and Bees Talk” (TBBT), a purpose initiative supported by Reckitt and Plan India, initiated a webinar to increase outreach amongst community, students and teachers through experts, influencers and talented artists to raise awareness about the disease. This year ‘Hep Can’t Wait’, the International theme highlights the urgency of efforts needed to eliminate hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 which would prevent approximately 36 million infections & save 10 million lives. The webinar was chaired by esteemed guest speakers - Diana Khumanthem (IAS , DC Imphal East, Manipur) an IAS officer from the Northeast, Mrs. Koing Samon Umbon (DDSE, Namsai), an educationist and social activist, former ADEO - Assistant District Educational Officer and currently working for women rights and

 development, Dr. Tope Yomcha (DRCHO- District Reproductive Child Health Officer, NHM), former GDMO- General Duty Medical Officer and a recipient of the State Gold Medal for improving immunization status in Changlang District and Dr. Banikanta (Influencer), a Consultant Physician & Diabetologist and a renowned YouTuber who creates live webinars and videos to bridge the gap between medical science and the general public. Through this initiative the speakers touched upon the risks, prevention along-with discussing the key solutions for the disease. Hepatitis B and C are silent epidemics, hitting children and marginalized populations and kill more people annually than from HIV/AIDS, Malaria & tuberculosis.90% of people living with hepatitis B and 80% living with hepatitis C are unaware they are living with such disease, resulting in the real possibility of developing fatal liver disease or liver cancer at some point in their lives and in some cases, unknowingly transmitting the infection to others, although Hepatitis B is vaccine preventable, and Hepatitis C is curable. Through this initiative, TBBT aims to encourage people to take action, make them aware of the deadly disease- risk factors, early signs, etc and share information on preventive measures. Dr. Tope Yomcha, DRCHO (District Reproductive Child Health Officer), NHM said, “It is important to educate the future generation about the severity of Hepatitis and its adverse effects. The youth contributing to 70% of our population, it is imperative to understand the implications of this fatal disease as it can seriously damage the liver, cause cancer and premature death. Through this webinar, we initiated a much needed dialogue and raised awareness about the disease among the masses. We hope we were successful in fulfilling the goal of educating the younger generation and being one step closer to eradicating the disease,” Mr. Gaurav Jain, SVP, South Asia from Reckitt said, “The recent pandemic has brought home the importance of health literacy among populations as a powerful tool to boost health outcomes and resilience. Hepatitis is a highly preventable disease which can be beaten if vulnerable groups are provided the right information at the right time. By bringing experts on board to educate adolescents on hepatitis, the Durex Birds and Bees Talk campaign is helping adolescents and youth with the right tools to protect themselves by raising awareness and encouraging them to make health a priority.” Mr. Mohammed Asif, Executive Director, Plan India stated, “Plan India has been working for more than two decades to improve sexual and reproductive health services and wellbeing for all children, adolescent girls and young women and men. With one person dying every 30 seconds from any hepatitis related illness – and which is likely to get accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot wait to act. On World Hepatitis Day, we aim to inform adolescents and community members with knowledge on prevention strategies, which is one of the pillars of our program ‘The Birds and Bees Talk’. We believe that adolescents and young people must be enabled, equipped and empowered to participate in their own development and therefore raising their awareness on hepatitis related illnesses is an important public health intervention.” In 2015, viral hepatitis was included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in 2016 the world’s first global hepatitis strategy to eliminate the disease was ratified.

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