India needs more facilities to address liver diseases: Prez

NEW DELHI, Jan 14:
President Pranab Mukherjee today expressed concern over the increasing incidence of liver diseases in the country and the lack of public awareness and associated treatment for combating the same.
Addressing some of the leading doctors in the field of liver and biliary sciences here, Mukherjee asked specialists to develop the “best clinical protocols and operational systems in specialised liver care in line with global standards”.
“The liver is one of the vital organs of the human body. It is in a sense our metabolic factory and master regulator since everything we ingest first goes to the intestines and then the liver. The bacteria in our gut, sense, process and modulate our life.
“It is, therefore, a matter of great concern that liver diseases today are as common, if not more, than heart diseases. They constitute a huge burden on our country, but sadly, public awareness and associated treatment and research facilities in respect of these are not quite as optimal,” he said while addressing the 6th foundation day function at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) here.
The event also marked the 3rd convocation of the ILBS, an autonomous institute established by Delhi Government.
The President, after awarding degrees to the passing out scholars, also chronicled the causatives of the increasing numbers of liver diseases.
“Hepatitis, alcohol usage and obesity injure the liver the most, sometimes irreparably. The increasing number of lives lost to liver disease and the growing need for liver transplantation in our country are ready pointers to the increasing incidence of liver disease in our population,” he said.
The President lauded the institute, one of the exclusive facilities in this domain, for treating over 87,000 patients in the year gone by and undertaking 283 liver transplants and 85 renal transplants since its creation.
Terming this stream of medical science a “niche” one, Mukherjee complimented the students, faculty members, doctors and staff of ILBS for “undertaking highly skilled and complicated surgeries, including liver and renal transplants, besides offering post-doctoral teaching and research in frontier areas”.
“The institute provides first-rate medical care for patients with diseases of the liver, gall bladder, pancreas and associated organs of co-morbidity, such as the kidney and urinary system, not only to the people of India but also to people from other countries.
“It serves as a model for healthcare by amalgamating both academic skills and clinical acumen,” Mukherjee said.
ILBS Director SK Sarin, during the event, sought more “functional and financial autonomy” for the better working of the institute and the large medical facility based in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia who, too, was present on the occasion, assured all help from the state government’s side for addressing the issues faced by ILBS.
He said that the state government will take care of their problems by finding conventional or non-conventional solutions.
“Even if the law has to be amended, we will do it. You take care of the people who come to you, as you have been doing, and leave the rest to us,” said Sisodia.
Mukherjee also honoured ‘Bharat Ratna’ and Head of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, Dr CNR Rao, with an honorary Doctor of Science degree during the event.
The President said that ILBS, in its short span of six years, has “given hope to millions of people by providing state-of-the-art patient care services at affordable cost, including advanced and dedicated research in the field of liver and biliary diseases”.
“I am happy that the institute has taken a lead in undertaking organ donation programmes and running awareness campaigns. While it has already started renal transplant services, it also intends to move forward on organ banking and developing a national referral and advanced liver and gall bladder cancer centre.
“A facility of this kind is an imperative given that liver cancers constitute the second-most common cause of cancer- related deaths in the world as per the WHO release of 2014,” he said.
The President further praised the institute for earning global recognition.
“It is heartening to note that ILBS has already been designated as a WHO collaborating centre on Viral Hepatitis and Liver Diseases. To add to the sense of accomplishment, the World Gastroenterology Organisation has set-up its second training centre for liver diseases at the institute,” he said. (PTI)

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