Amitabh Bachchan, Victim of Hepatitis, Now Appointed WHO Goodwill Ambassador for it

Actor Amitabh Bachchan addressing during 20th Kolkata International Film Festival in Kolkata on Nov 10, 2014. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)

World Health Organization has chosen Amitabh Bachchan as its Goodwill Ambassador for Hepatitis in South-East Asia Region to spread awareness about hepatitis, one of the leading causes of liver cancer and cirrhosis.

“I am absolutely committed to the cause of hepatitis. As a person living with hepatitis B, I know the pain and sufferings that hepatitis causes. No one should ever suffer from viral hepatitis,” said Amitabh Bachchan who himself was victim of hepatitis B in 1982 through a blood transfusion after an accident on the sets of his film, Coolie.

Bachchan has lent his voice, fame and face to tuberculosis, childhood immunisation, polio and ‘clean India’ campaigns. His infection 1982 surfaced only in 2016, after almost 18 years and he had lost 75 percent of his liver function already.

About 325 million people worldwide live with chronic hepatitis, said the World Health Organisation.

“Mr Bachchan’s voice is one that is listened to by people across the country, regardless of cultural, social or economic background and can make real change possible. We have witnessed this in polio eradication,” said J P Nadda, Union minister of health and family welfare.

Hepatitis B vaccination given at 0, 1, 2, and 6 months provides protection for children and prevents mother-to-child transmission of the disease.

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