World Health Organization (WHO) has appointed Amitabh Bachchan as its Goodwill Ambassador for Hepatitis in South-East Asia Region. He has been appointed to boost awareness to stop the spread of hepatitis, which is one of the leading causes of liver cancer and cirrhosis. As an ambassador, Amitabh Bachchan will participate in public awareness programmes to scale up prevention measures, early diagnosis and treatment.
It is estimated that around 325 million across the world suffer from chronic hepatitis which is an inflammation of the liver resulting in liver scarring, liver cancer and death if untreated.
Hepatitis viruses is one of the common cause of liver damage but other infections, toxic substances such as alcohol, certain medicine, food contaminants, bad lifestyle and autoimmune diseases may also result in chronic hepatitis.
Of the five hepatitis viruses, namely, types A, B, C, D and E, types B and C are the most deadly. These two types are mostly responsible for liver damage. Hepatitis viruses B, C and D spread by contact with contaminated blood or body fluids. Hepatitis A and E spreads through unsafe food and drink. Symptoms of Hepatitis include yellowing of the skin and eyes, abdominal pain and swelling, yellow urine, pale or dark stools, chronic fatigue, nausea and loss of appetite. Hepatitis B vaccination are administered at 0, 1, 2, and 6 months to children to protect them against the disease as well as to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the disease.