MUMBAI : Celebrated Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan, a Hepatitis B conqueror, was on Friday appointed the WHO Goodwill Ambassador for the Hepatitis awareness programme in southeast Asia region. He says nobody should suffer from the disease.
The veteran actor has been brought on board to boost awareness and intensify action to arrest the Hepatitis epidemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced in a statement. “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,” Amitabh said. In his capacity, the actor will lend his voice and support to public awareness programmes that aim to scale up preventive measures and advocate for early diagnosis and treatment of viral Hepatitis to reduce the disease burden. Announcing his association with WHO, Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for WHO southeast Asia, said: “This association is expected to help strengthen WHO’s efforts in reducing the high numbers of premature deaths and illnesses from viral Hepatitis which is not only causing hardships to individuals and families, but also impacting health and development across the region.” In a video message, Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda said: “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.” Amitabh had earlier served as Unicef Goodwill Ambassador for the polio eradication campaign in India, and has been supporting and promoting various health and related issues in the country such as childhood immunisation programme, anti-tuberculosis campaign and ÂClean India’ initiative.