An adhoc media committee to report on issues relating to Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) besides developing media tools on hepatitis C reporting was formed during a day-long media sensitization workshop in Imphal on Saturday.
The media sensitization workshop was organized by Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE) with the support from Coalition PLUS.
The workshop was participated by media representatives from across the state.
Speaking on ‘Present Trends of Hepatitis C in State: State Specific Standard of Procedure (SoP), Pricing and NVHCP’, CoNE president ,Nalinikanta Rajkumar, emphasized on the types of hepatitis, routes of transmission, whom to get tested, prevention and treatment options.
Although there is no official viral hepatitis C data, CoNE initiated a HCV serological study since 2014 to produce a state wide authentic HCV prevalence data among people who inject drugs and their partners in partnership with Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) and Babina Diagnostics in 2018 with the approval of ethical clearance from Research Ethics Board of RIMS.
He also highlighted on the current scenario of hepatitis C in the state in comparison with other states of India and focused on how media could play a vital role in making people aware of hepatitis C and reduce stigma and discrimination associated with hepatitis C.
Nalinikanta further appealed to the media fraternity to do investigative stories on the epidemic and also circulate as much news as possible on hepatitis C so that it is no longer considered a deadly disease but a preventable and curable disease.
Earlier while delivering the objective of the workshop, CoNE project coordinator Pramod Ningombam said that Hepatitis C is a public health issue that needs to be given a wider platform due to the impact it has on the society.
The media also becomes a platform for advocacy to air issues surrounding viral hepatitis in general and hepatitis C in particular, its myths and misconceptions, government’s insensitivity towards the issue, stigma and discrimination associated with it and access to essential medicines as a public health concern, Pramod said.
Later, the gathering recommended to have consistent visits to Viral Hepatitis programme implementing sites,Publishing the progress, issues and challenges of National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme on a regular basis.
It also resolved to create a common platform for the committee to share HCV related news and information and focus more different mediums of media for proper awareness and information dissemination about the disease to the masses.