Mary Kom set to pack a punch with hepatitis awareness campaign

New Delhi, Dec 4 (PTI) Six-time boxing world champion M C Mary Kom has thrown her weight behind a campaign to raise awareness about hepatitis and the Olympic medallist on Wednesday said she is committed to helping India deliver a knockout punch to the disease.

The 35-year-old mother of four is the face of the campaign launched by city-based Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS).

'Fighting hepatitis is like fighting in boxing. As part of this campaign, we are all committed to knock hepatitis out of the country. I am happy to be part of this campaign as I am also a mother and I know vaccination is important for children to protect them,' Kom told PTI on the sidelines of an event at ILBS here.

As part of the initiative, a short video featuring the ace boxer was released across 250 theatres in Delhi-National Capital Region on Wednesday.

The 80-second video features 'Magnificent Mary' in her boxing gear, highlighting the importance of awareness to fight the disease of hepatitis, a senior ILBS official said, adding that Kom became the ambassador of the campaign last year.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain and Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev were also present on the occasion.

'People look after their organs like heart and brain, but no one looks after their liver. All diseases are somehow linked to an unhealthy liver and if people keep the liver healthy then they will be able to ward off most of the diseases,' Jain said.

He exhorted people to stay way from alcohol and smoking, saying 'high taxes on such commodities are an indication that they should be avoided'.

Jain also urged people to eat healthy and avoid junk food.

On the occasion, Jain also inaugurated a cartoon exhibition displaying works by artists from over 40 countries, humorously depicting the plight of liver in the body.

The World Health Organisation defines hepatitis as an inflammation of the liver. The condition can be self-limiting or can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer.

There are five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. These five types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and deaths they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread.

The virus is most commonly transmitted from mother to child during birth and delivery, as well as through contact with blood or other body fluids.

'Each year, 1.34 million die globally (due to hepatitis) and 325 million people living with the disease could eventually experience liver disease, cirrhosis or liver cancer, if left untreated,' the ILBS said in a statement. PTI KND DIV DIV