Raising Awareness of Hepatitis Among First Responders in India

September 26, 2019

First responders are used to facing danger head-on. But through a special program at Mylan, our teams in India are working to help spread awareness of one danger that can’t be seen: viral hepatitis.
Working with a local nonprofit group called Sree Siddeshwara Seva Samasthe Trust, Mylan’s team provided hepatitis screenings for the Bengaluru Police Department as part of a campaign to spread awareness of the disease. For the testing, Mylan provided screening kits and phlebotomists who conducted the testing. In all, more than 400 police officers were screened as part of the program.

Dr. O. S. Siddapa, president of the Sree Siddeshwara Seva Samasthe Trust, said it’s vital to spread awareness of hepatitis in India because many people may be infected but not aware because they have no symptoms.

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that as many as 40 million people in India are infected with hepatitis B.1

 “Citizens must be made aware of this. This initiative is our effort in the direction as policemen are prone to come in contact with blood as a part of their job, and the aim of this campaign is not merely a one-time blood screening, but knowledge insemination amongst them,” Siddapa said. “We aim to equip them with the right message and knowledge of the issue, so that they themselves would adopt cautionary methods and remain free of the infection.”

In 2018, India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the National Viral Hepatitis Control Program (NVHCP) to raise hepatitis awareness and work toward WHO’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 3, which includes combatting viral hepatitis around the world by 2030.

SDG No. 3, which is a commitment to good health and well-being, is closely aligned with Mylan’s mission to promote better health around the world. Thanks to modern medications, patients with infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and tuberculosis who receive the proper care can manage their disease. However, preventing and diagnosing the diseases and ensuring patients have access to life-saving medications, especially in low-and middle-income countries where the burden is most prevalent, are still global challenges. 

Mylan takes pride in our history of leadership in this area and continually seeks opportunities to do more. We have launched campaigns in some of the hardest-hit countries, including India, Egypt, Thailand and the Philippines, to promote the importance of screening, disease management and treatment options.

“Overcoming barriers to better educate, increase awareness and combat stigma and discrimination will be critical if we are to reach elimination,” said Dr. Rakesh Bamzai, president of Mylan India and Emerging Markets. “Mylan has been in the forefront to help fight infectious diseases. This initiative in collaboration with Sree Siddeshwara Seva Samasthe Trust furthers our mission of increasing access and awareness in treatment of viral hepatitis."

1. South-East Asia Regional Office. (2019). Hepatitis. [online] Available at: http://www.searo.who.int/india/topics/hepatitis/en/ Accessed Sept. 3, 2019.